The Clemons family is putting the final touches on a seafood restaurant with the aim of opening Coquina Fishbar at Mayfaire Town Center by the end of the year.
The owners of the area's three Hibachi To Go restaurants, the Clemonses have been working on getting the Mayfaire restaurant up and running for six months.
The restaurant's menu is partially inspired by patriarch Scott Clemons' roots in Tampa, Florida, where he was a chef from 1980 to 1993.
"So what I've done is I have brought some of that cuisine with me to see how it does here," said Clemons, who hired a chef and a sous chef for the new restaurant.
Tampa dishes include conch fritters and deviled crab, but not the deviled crab Wilmingtonians might know. The Tampa version is a different dish, made with stuffing, blue crab claw meat and spices and fried into a croquette.
Overall for the menu, "we're going with a lot of fresh fish, local oysters, some of your traditional sides" including Yukon mashed potatoes, grilled cob corn, broccolini and saffron yellow rice with black beans.
Other menu items: a whole sauteed snapper; tuna, swordfish and shark steaks; and smoked mullet spread. The restaurant has a smoker that will be used to smoke Coquina Fishbar's proteins, including the mullet and blackened smoked chicken.
The Clemons family moved to Wilmington in 2006, opening their first Hibachi To Go location, in Hampstead, 10 years ago, followed by the Ogden location and another on South Kerr Avenue. A mainly drive-thru and takeout business, Hibachi To Go has prospered during the COVID-19 pandemic as more people opt to eat at home.
Meanwhile, Coquina Fishbar at 5,000 square feet has plenty of room to spread people out in accordance with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines and also has an outdoor patio.
The restaurant has a bar and a private room in the back for functions, Scott Clemons said.
The rest of the Clemons family includes Scott Clemons' wife, Shari, and their children, Emme, Abbe and Jacob.
Scott Clemons said Coquina Fishbar's location at Mayfaire Town Center is a unique one because of the nearby residential areas of Mayfaire, Landfall, apartment complex Arboretum West, townhomes, hotels and the beach.
"We think," he said, "we're right in the mix of where you would want to be to be successful."
The restaurant's hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.