On February 10, 1938, two partners, Tony Seamon and Ted Garner, opened a fresh seafood market on the Morehead City waterfront. A small building had been rented from Charles S. Wallace for $5.50 per week with the understanding that no beer or wine would be sold and that the premises be kept clean and neat. The name "Sanitary Fish Market" was chosen by the partners to project their compliance.
"Captain Ted" operated the fish market and "Captain Tony" operated a party boat, often cooking and serving some of the day's catch to his parties. They began urging him to cook his seafood ashore. In the Spring of 1938 twelve stools were set up at a counter in the market, a two-burner kerosene stove was installed and the first seafood restaurant on the Morehead City waterfront was in business! Soon afterward, word spread and customers lined up at the front door awaiting their turn to sample the fresh seafood.
By 1942 Tony stopped operating his charter boat and joined Ted in the operation of the restaurant. Business grew and prospered for the two. The rented building was purchased and enlarged several times. In 1949 a new home for the Sanitary Restaurant was built on the waterside just east of the original site. Seating capacity was now at 225. Twenty years (1969) and four additions later, seating was increased to 600, at which it stands today.
Both men's sons have also been active in the business. Tony, Jr. managed the restaurant for a number of years until 1980 when Ted Garner, Jr. purchased the business and all of the properties.
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