Without a doubt, my single favorite location in Eastern North Carolina is Clyde Phillips Seafood Market. It's a little salmon colored plaster shack on the White Oak River in Swansboro, NC Absolutely unassuming with the weathered exterior and jumble of boats docked behind it. Those boats are my favorite part. There is nothing better than walking into a place to buy seafood and the trawlers are still wet from the morning's shrimping expedition.
The small shop area is low key and utilitarian. A cement block resevoir filled with ice serves as the cooler display case in the center. Along the back wall is a long, shallow, stainless steel cleaning bench. A few failing rocking chairs serve as the waiting area. Each day the selection varies. Generally it is filled with mullet, croaker, flounder, and shrimp. Sometimes they'll have crabs, clams, oysters, drums, grouper, snapper and scallops (depending on the season, tides, and weather.)
Mullet in the front.
Croaker in the back, a flakey, buttery, mild white fish.
Beautiful red snapper
Creamy white bellies of flounder
My favorite item: huge, fresh shrimp.
16-20 per pound, an absolute steal at $5.50/lb (head on) in season
Even with buying shrimp about once a week, I can't get enough. I am going to miss the fresh seafood so much; I am actually crying about it a little right now. While I wish Jacksonville, NC and I had never met; I fell in love with Wilmington, the Outer Banks, Bear Island and Swansboro. Clyde Phillips caught my heart the moment I pulled into the gravel lot the first time: the boats, the breeze, the estuary islands in the river, the seafood.