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Local Chef Sells Beachside Restaurant To Return To Mountain Roots

By Jessica Maurer, posted Feb 24, 2021
Chef Kirsten Mitchell is returning to the North Carolina mountains after selling her Carolina Beach eatery Salt Fish. (File photo)
Chef Kirsten Mitchell, founder of Salt Fish restaurant in Carolina Beach, has enjoyed her time at the coast but is ready to return home to the mountains of western North Carolina.

Mitchell has sold the restaurant to a Carolina Beach resident, who currently wishes to remain unnamed.

“This was always the plan, even before opening Salt Fish,” Mitchell said. “I had been looking in the mountains a few years ago for a place to start my own restaurant and it didn’t work out at the time, so this is the natural progression.”

Prior to opening Salt Fish in the fall of 2018, Mitchell owned and operated Vittles food truck, and worked for several Wrightsville Beach area restaurants including Ceviche’s, Grand Cru Food and Wine, and 1900 Restaurant and Lounge.

Mitchell said that while Salt Fish has faced ups and downs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, things were not as bad as she initially anticipated, and the impact of the pandemic was not the primary factor in her decision to sell.

“I wasn’t going to [renew] my lease regardless of COVID,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been in Wilmington for 11 years and I’m ready for a change of scenery to be with family and friends back home. It was my hope that I would find a buyer who would want to carry on the restaurant because we had built such a great following.”

Mitchell said that while she believes the new owner will want to put her own touch on things, the general concept will stay the same.

“I feel very positive about the sale,” Mitchell said. “I think things are headed in the right direction for restaurants to have a very good summer.”

As for Mitchell's personal next steps, she is currently looking into several opportunities in the Banner Elk area and hopes to eventually embark on another restaurant of her own.

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