Coming This Fall: RockSalt
Owner Travis Croxton on his new space at Park Road Shopping Center, his family's oyster farm, and his love of Price's Chicken Coop
Travis Croxton is no stranger to the restaurant business. Although he's an oysterman first—his family's been farming oysters near the Chesapeake since the 1800s—and a restaurateur second, he already has several restaurants under his belt. RockSalt, with locations in Charlotte and Charlottesville, Virginia, will be the first of a new concept.
The restaurant's name is a sort of homage to the oyster industry: some Rappahannock Oyster Co. customers call shucking oysters "popping rocks," and oyster grounds are often referred to as "rocks." "Then, 'salt' in terms of brininess of course, but also in terms of drinks, like a margarita with a rimmed glass," Croxton says.
The new eatery will take over the former Park Road Quick Cleaners building behind Park Road Shopping Center, which will require an extensive build-out including a large patio overlooking the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. So why Charlotte? "My sister actually lives [in Charlotte], so I'd like to spend more time with her and her family," says Croxton. But family isn't the only draw—Croxton is also looking forward to being in close proximity to his favorite fried chicken. "She took me one time on a visit to Price's Chicken Coop, so I need to open [a restaurant] somewhere near Price's. I've actually brought several chefs to town [to eat there]."
Craxton has hired a chef, although he wouldn't give us a name just yet—all he'll say at this point is that it's a chef who knows North Carolina farmers. Supporting the state's products is one of the restaurant's goals. "We're going to use mostly North Carolina products," he says. In addition to local and regional meats, cooked on a wood-fired grill and rotisserie, the restaurant will also have plenty of seafood, both from Rappahannock Oyster Co. and elsewhere. "We'll have seafood primarily out of Carolina and Virginia waters. Maybe a little bit from Maryland from time to time," he adds.