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June 26, 2024

Fig Tree owners to open Park Road seafood boil spot

Greg and Sara Zanitsch will bring Topsail Steamer to Charlotte

by Kristen Wile

Topsail Steamer will sell a variety of seafood buckets. Photo courtesy

Last year, The Fig Tree owners Greg and Sara Zanitsch took a family vacation with their kids to Florida. There, they grabbed dinner from Topsail Steamer, a takeout spot preparing seafood buckets customers can steam and enjoy at home. The family enjoyed the experience so much, Greg Zanitsch began doing some research on the chain. After thinking about how the concept might do here, he reached out to the owner of the franchise, which first opened on the Carolina coast and is now in five states.

Zanitsch found a space that he thought would work well, and next month, Charlotte’s first Topsail Steamer will open next to Total Wine in Park Towne Village, at Park Road and Woodlawn.

“This is a great concept and I like the simplicity of it,” Zanitsch says. ” And so we decided to be a guinea pig and open here in Charlotte.”

The Charlotte location will be the first non-beach location for the franchise, but Zanitsch believes it will be popular for family gatherings, tailgates, and parties, as well as easy dinners. On the menu are a selection of seafood buckets that vary in ingredients, such as crab, clams, shrimp, and even lobster, all served with kielbasa or andouille, potatoes, and other vegetables. Customers can order online and pick up their seafood, then take it home and steam it to enjoy hot.

For Zanitsch, opening a franchise — let alone another restaurant in Charlotte — came as a surprise. Yet the concept is fitting for this time in his life. Now in his 50s, Zanitsch says the hours and simplicity are part of the concept’s appeal. The store will be open from noon to 7 p.m., and much of the labor needs are simple prep, such as shucking corn and chopping potatoes.

“I’m too young to retire, but too old to work the line at The Fig Tree,” he says. “I figured this would be a nice little project for me.”

While Topsail Steamer has its own proprietary recipes for some items, such as the sausages, Zanitsch will be sourcing ingredients for the seafood buckets, and hopes to use North Carolina seafood as much as possible. He also plans to come up with special items, such as a crawfish boil around Mardi Gras.

The restaurant is currently under construction, with equipment arriving in two weeks. Zanitsch says they hope to open for pickups on July 20.

Eventually, he hopes to add some sort of food truck or van that can travel to breweries and heat up seafood bakes to order for customers, as well as expand the concept to the lake area.

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