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William Harris Jr., aka Lars, has been cutting fish since he was 16. He is a legend among the local seafood markets — filleting flounder, top right, and bagging shrimp for customers. Ronnie’s market displays fish in open cases with cubed ice, whole lemons and fresh kale leaves. Mom and Pop, Revonda and Ronnie Williams of Ronnie’s Crab Shack, have been doing things a little differently over the last ten years. Their immaculate store, on South Third Street in the same block as the Red Barn Studio Theater, is so clean that you’d never guess there was a fish to be had within those four walls. Johnnie Gore, store manager, and his staff scrub walls and baseboards to make sure no fishy smell lingers. “We pride ourselves on our cleanliness,” Gore says. Live crabs are their mainstay, with Ronnie doing all of the crabbing as well as bringing in some of the fish. “I’ve never seen people eat crab like they do in Wilmington,” Gore says as he digs his hand into a basin and picks up a shiny, wriggling blue crab. “It’s like they’re addicted to crab. They can’t get enough.” Bright-eyed flounder, along with Virginia mullet, spots and more lie in mounds of ice, looking more like a display case in a jewelry store, with the ice like sparkling gemstones, than a table at a fishmonger’s. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 6 pm at Ronnie’s mobile kitchen, customers line up for steaming shrimp or flounder burgers along with clam strip plates, fried crabs and lots more. One of Ronnie’s cutters, William Harris Jr., has been in the business since age 16 and has trained many of the local cutters for more than 40 years. One of his protégées, Venice Smith of Howard’s Seafood at Fifth and Castle streets, calls him the Captain, a sign of respect for the trade and Harris’s place in it. 94 WBM august 2015


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