New restaurant delights with fresh fish, soul food

Published 5:05 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

A new downtown restaurant that features locally-sourced, fresh fish daily will delight both seafood and soul food aficionados.

All About Fish will delight Suffolk residents with fish, shrimp, occasional catfish, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, yams, fries and more, according to owner Vernicia Sharpe. 

“I can cook pretty much anything, taste anything; can pretty much tell what’s in it. I’ve always had a taste bud for that,” Sharpe said. “Food has always been within my goals to do.”

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She stressed the importance of serving fresh fish as a part of her menu. 

To do so means that Sharpe and her staff will start their days at 5 a.m., and include a stop at the Nixon Fishery to haul in their fresh catches.

“We clean and prep fish by the day. We never freeze fish,” Sharpe said. “I don’t like frozen food, so I prefer to not do frozen food. Anything fresh is ok with me.”

What will patrons not want to miss?

“My speciality is my cornbread,” Sharpe said proudly.

Opening a restaurant is a major life goal for her and something that she had “no clue” she could make happen. 

Sharpe discussed when she posed her idea of owning a restaurant to her husband.

“One day I told my husband that I wanted to do a restaurant and we found a location,” she said. “He didn’t think that I was really going to do it, so he kind of blew it off. But, when I made the decision, I told him I said ‘I know what I want to do.’”

Sharpe said her husband was 100% behind her as she pursued her dream.

In selecting the name for the new restaurant, she explained it was inspired by the passage of Matthew 14:13-21 where Jesus fed five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fishes.

“All About Fish came about because I had to think it out, ‘What would Jesus do?’” she said. “I wanted to start with something that would grow and would multiply.”

Likewise, visitors will also see a beautiful decoration that says “I followed my heart and it led me to the ocean.” 

Sharpe said this too was inspired by when Jesus fed five thousand people.

“I don’t mind feeding people,” Sharpe said. “Everyday I have a rush to do something good, to set somebody else’s soul. Also, I enjoy the moments where we get to service people when it’s not all about money either. Maybe somebody may come in and sometimes they may be hungry and we still supply them with food. We’re able to give them what’s breaking down at the end of the night without throwing food away.”

Without the support of her friends, family, staff and volunteers, Sharpe said All About Fish wouldn’t have been possible. 

“My husband. My all, my up, my everything. My partner…,” Sharpe said in sharing her gratitude toward him. “We’re one, completely one. We don’t do nothing without each other… He’s very encouraging, anything that I want to do, he’s very supportive in everything I want to do and I love him for that.”

All About Fish, located at 249 Carolina Rd. is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.