For the past year, Seafood Kingz in St. Albans has been serving up seafood dishes with a touch of soul food.
From steamed crab legs and lobster to fresh fish and shrimp, Seafood Kingz offers a variety of menu options for customers. Its soul food choices include rice and beans, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, collard greens, steamed broccoli, cabbage and banana pudding. The restaurant also offers a special catering menu for events and parties as well.
The family-owned business was established in September 2019 at 205-41 Linden Blvd., by couple Darryl Lelie and his wife, Catrina. Although business has been good, they say, it can be better.
“Most of our business is takeout — it’s GrubHub or UberEats — and we’re trying to build up the sit-down situation,” Catrina said. “We get some customers, but not as many as we would like.”
In an effort to attract more customers to dine in, the Lelie’s are working on new flyers to distribute, obtaining a beer and wine license to serve drinks, and wing and $7 lunch specials. Their outreach also includes social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
It’s not the first time the couple has experienced owning and operating a business. Darryl, a longtime cook, has been in the restaurant business since 2005. Prior to moving to Queens from the Bronx, he owned a spot in an industrial area that was mostly takeout.
“That wasn’t a place where you would expect people to walk by given that there was an expressway nearby, so we had to go and get the money making deliveries to Harlem and the neighborhood, GrubHub was our biggest supporter and it was really pushing our numbers up,” Darryl said.
After wanting to expand to include seating for dining, Darryl decided to close up and move to Queens. If all goes well, the Lelie’s hope to open up another location in the Bronx. Darry’s ultimate goal he says, is to have a restaurant on City Island someday.
“We almost had a space there and we would have been the first black business up there, but one of the investors pulled out on the day of signing,” Darryl said.
Since moving into the neighborhood of St. Alban’s, the couple has received a warm welcome from residents who say they appreciate the business.
Sitting at a table enjoying a meal of steamed fish with potato salad on the side, Curtis Coleman said he’s a frequent customer at Seafood Kingz.
“I think their meals are delicious,” Coleman said. “That’s why I come back. Once a week I come in to eat here.”
According to Catrina, another customer had said they’re delighted to see a black-owned business in the neighborhood.
“She came back later and ordered some fish and chips and was on her merry way. We get a warm embrace from the neighborhood,” Catrina said.
Looking forward, the Lelies are keeping faith that the family-owned business stays afloat. For Darryl, it’s a business that he would like to pass on to his current and future family making sure they’re all well taken care of.
“This was his dream from way back when. Through all of the nay-sayers and all of the failures, he’s gotten right back up and started all over again, and that’s an inspiration to his kids,” Catrina said. “Although you fail, you have to get up and start all over again and he’s foreseen what he wanted to do and went on and did it. He’s going to do no matter what to make sure his family and future family is taken care of.”