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5Q: David Banks, owner & operator of Banks’ Seafood Kitchen


Banks’ Seafood Kitchen has officially taken the place of Harry’s Seafood Grill. David Banks, the longtime executive chef of Harry’s Savoy Ballroom, Harry’s Seafood Grill and Kid Shelleen’s, is now the sole owner and operator of the Wilmington Riverfront restaurant.

The name Harry’s Seafood is well known throughout Wilmington and the region. How did you settle on the new name and logo? What will it take to become a household name?

Being the original chef that opened Harry’s Savoy Grill in 1988 and continuing for nearly 30 years as an integral part in building the brand that includes Harry’s Savoy Ballroom, Harry’s Seafood Grill and Kid Shelleen’s, the marketing showcased my name as well as the brand. Having those equities, it is fitting to use my name in the rebranding. The logo design, particularly the choice of colors and script, was suggested by my design team, which includes my wife Jess Donnelly-Banks.

How are you adapting to your new role as the sole owner of the restaurant?

The adaptation has been fairly seamless. I’ve spent many years as the executive chef in charge of culinary operations for several locations. That role requires strong leadership as well as financial and personnel management skills. I’m always mindful that one is only as good as the team he leads. One of the best realities of being the chef-owner is I’ve been able to affect change very quickly.

How are you balancing the existing reputation of Harry’s Seafood with your plans for the future?

The concept was collaboratively mine and the cuisine style has proven successful. In order to excel and differentiate yourself from your competitors, it is imperative to provide sincere hospitality every single shift. My teams focus on quality and execution, paired with remarkable service, and an exciting bar and dining atmosphere that will distinguish us as a well-known entity in the city.

How would you like the new restaurant to distinguish itself?

The Riverfront area has continued to grow over the last 15 plus years. I’ve been here 15 years. I’ve always said that parking and security are two of the most critical factors for success. The particular location of my restaurant on the riverfront will greatly benefit from the building of more residences and the addition of retail opportunities in our vicinity.

Describe some of the upcoming changes. What will set Banks Seafood apart?

The style and concept of an all-seafood restaurant is by its nature ever-changing. The seasonal species of fish and shellfish as well as the farm to table approach to the accompaniments I choose for the proteins that I call “the sets” help create the excitement and heighten the curiosity of my guests as well as my staff. The bar scene is transforming its offerings of craft cocktails, craft beers, non alcoholic creations and special attractions such as our new “Decompression Drafts and Snacks.”

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