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6 Fast-Growing Seafood Chains You're About to See Everywhere

These popular brands are attracting a growing number of customers and planning for growth in 2024.
FACT CHECKED BY Mura Dominko

Eating at a seafood restaurant could mean a number of different dining experiences. You've got your upscale establishments known for their elaborate seafood towers, scenic waterfront views, and hefty price tags. Then, you've got your more casual seafood boil joints dishing out plastic bags of shellfish, along with trusty plastic bibs.

Whether you're seeking something luxurious or more laid-back, the number of places where you can satisfy your salmon, shrimp, or lobster craving is only growing. Multiple seafood chains, from lobster roll hotspots to poké bowl eateries, continue to pepper the country with more locations. And some are growing faster than others, venturing into new markets and expanding their presence in existing ones.

So, a new seafood spot could be coming to a city near you. Here are six restaurant chains to keep on your radar the next time you get a hankering for a taste of the ocean.

Captain D's

captain d's restaurant
Nolichuckyjake / Shutterstock

With more than 530 restaurants across 23 states, Captain D's is continuing to grow. Most recently, the Nashville-based seafood chain signed a franchise development agreement to open 26 new restaurants across St. Louis, Indianapolis, and North Carolina over the next few years. According to Brad Reef, Captain D's chief development officer, this was the chain's "largest development agreement to date." Reed told Restaurant Dive in 2023 that the company hopes to surpass 1,000 units and open between 25 to 40 locations each year.

Captain D's previously shared that it plans to open its first New Jersey location this year, as well as its first New York location in late 2024. A the beginning of 2024, Captain D's announced that it will open five restaurants in the greater Toronto metropolitan area over the next several years. This deal marked the chain's first franchise development agreement in Canada.

 The 10 Best Seafood Chains in America

Cousins Maine Lobster

cousins maine lobster food truck
RYO Alexandre / Shutterstock

What started out as just one food truck in Los Angeles has expanded into a fast-growing lobster roll business that gained notable fame after appearing on ABC's Shark Tank in 2012. Since then, the chain known for its wild-caught Maine lobster has opened more than 65 units between its food trucks and restaurants, with more coming down the pike.

In May, the company shared that it has opened 22 new units over the past 15 months and has more than 20 new openings planned for this year. In July, CML will open units in Kansas City and Columbia, Mo., and is talking with potential franchise partners for St. Louis and other Midwest markets, according to a company press release.

In early June, CML expanded its presence in upstate New York and opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant at Pier 41 in San Francisco. A month before, the franchise launched its second Maryland truck.

Mason's Famous Lobster Rolls

mason's famous lobster rolls storefront
Mason's Famous Lobster Rolls / Facebook

Cousins Maine Lobster isn't the only lobster-focused chain embarking on a path to growth. Annapolis, Md.-based Mason's Famous Lobster Rolls is, too. Since opening its first location in 2014, the fast-casual chain has expanded to more than 30 locations across the U.S. In May, the chain opened its first international restaurant in Milan, Italy.

"With the infrastructure we have, we can open about 10 to 12 stores a year. We're probably looking to get up to 50 stores and then we might look for some injection to capital and really accelerate our growth," Dan Beck, the company's founder and CEO, said in an interview with Restaurant Business when asked about the chain's trajectory over the next three to five years.

 12 Best Lobster Rolls in New England, According to Chefs

Angry Crab Shack

angry crab shack outdoor seating area
Celi H. / Yelp

Angry Crab Shack is among several expanding seafood boil chains. According to Restaurant Business, the company currently operates 24 units and is most heavily concentrated in Arizona. There's also one Angry Crab Shack in London, England. The chain thinks it can reach 75 units in the U.S. over the next 10 years.

"I think it's in a great spot to grow," Andy Diamond, Angry Crab Shack's president, told Restaurant Business. "Because the menu is flexible, we can add new sauces, we can do a lot to the menu without really changing who we are.

Angry Crab Shack lets guests customize their seafood boil meal by offering a selection of shellfish, sauce, and spice options, along with other add-ins like seasonal vegetables, sausage, and corn on the cobb.

In January, Franchise Wire reported that Angry Crab Shack plans to open around 10 new restaurants in 2024.

Pokéworks

pokéworks storefront
Pokéworks / Facebook

Fast-casual brand Pokéworks is giving poké fans even more places to grab their favorite seafood-packed bowls. In 2024, the chain opened four new locations, three of which were in Canada, in addition to a new location in Midtown Atlanta. Going forward, Pokéworks aims to open another nine locations this year and is slated to open new restaurants in Fullerton, Calif.; Houston, Texas; Astoria, N.Y., Rochester, Mich.; and Newark, N.J. during the second half of 2024. The chain also plans to add three more locations in Canada this year.

The poké bowl chain currently has 67 locations across 20 states, Taiwan, and Canada, and is "actively targeting franchisees" in both existing and new markets, according to a company press release.

 10 Seafood Chains That Serve the Highest Quality Fish

California Fish Grill

california fish grill norwalk location
California Fish Grill / Facebook

West coast chain California Fish Grill prides itself on offering responsibly sourced seafood, highlighting how and where it sources its menu offerings. At 59 locations across Arizona, California, and Nevada, the restaurant shows no signs of slowing down. At the beginning of 2024, the Orange County Business Journal reported that the chain plans to open 11 new locations this year and aims to expand on the East Coast in areas like Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. in the "coming years."

In 2024, California Fish Grill opened four new California locations in Clairemont Mesa, Costa Mesa, Los Feliz, and Norwalk.

Brianna Ruback
Brianna is a staff writer at Eat This, Not That! She attended Ithaca College, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Communication Studies. Read more about Brianna
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