ST. LOUIS — Shuckin’ Shack, a North Carolina oyster-bar-turned-sports-bar franchise, is in expansion mode, and one of its new locations is slated for the St. Louis region.
Edwardsville franchisee Hunter Yung will open the region's first Shuckin' Shack in the Metro East city next summer. It's slated to be first of the 16-location chain's restaurants to be free-standing rather than within a larger retail property. Yung said his plans call for an 8,000-square-foot space, including indoor dining, an outdoor beer garden and rooftop bar.
“I was in from the get-go,” Yung said. “It’s a great concept, they have great staff and culture, and the seafood is great. It’s kind of a hometown feel.”
Land is secured but not finalized at Meridian Plaza, a recently approved, 43-acre, mixed-used development at the southeast corner of Route 157 and Meridian Road. Yung said he hopes to open the restaurant for summer 2023.
Shuckin' Shack aims to provide guests with a relaxing, beach-inspired dining experience, while featuring fresh and sustainable seafood, creative cocktails and more.
CEO Jonathan Weathington said Shuckin' Shack began expanding nationally in 2021, having since grown to 16 locations, with several more slated to open this year. The expansion began along the East Coast before heading inland where demand for the company’s food wasn’t being met, he said.
Weathington said that the company has faced challenges by aggressively expanding during especially volatile and uncertain times, but that the company is mitigating headwinds by continuing with trusted partners, maintaining relationships and not making rash decisions.
The COVID-pandemic, which delayed the company’s expansion plans by about 14 months, also changed its outlook on business. Rather than solely focusing on top-line sales, Weathington said the pandemic forced the company to examine its bottom-line more and focus on having a well-rounded business.
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