The longstanding York seafood pub turns 10.
So a guy walks into a bar … and is curious to find out what a “seafood pub” actually entails. Turns out, when it’s Barracuda’s Seafood Pub, it’s your everyday dart-throwing, pool-playing, light beer-drinking watering hole with a spectacular fresh seafood menu. You know, the usual.
Barracuda’s celebrated its 10-year anniversary in June. The small bar located on Industrial Highway sits next to well known Acworth Seafood, and that’s no coincidence. Both establishments have the same ownership, and it was 10 years ago that the phrase “Let’s start a bar” was uttered. A decade later, Barracuda’s is still going strong.
Four taps sit behind Barracuda’s bar featuring Budweiser, Miller Lite, Coors Light and Yuengling Lager. If common domestic beers don’t do it for you, there’s a full liquor display to quench every imaginable thirst for spirits.
Yuengling was my beer of choice, but I didn’t come for the beer. Instead, I came for the two-page menu of jumbo lump crabcakes, salmon cakes, breaded oysters, steamed shrimp, steamed hard-shell crabs, snow crab legs and seafood chowders.
Appetizers were a wonderful place to start for our small group. Two crab balls and haddock bites (made with a Yuengling batter) made the cut. As we waited on our food, we enjoyed a moment to scope out Barracuda’s maritime decor.
The wooden bar seats around 20 people and stretches nearly the length of the building. Above it are three TVs, and during my visit, the NASCAR FedEx 400 race was being broadcasted. The bar was nearly full – a good sign of business for a Sunday evening. Some patrons watched the race. Others smoked cigarettes while chatting with fellow regulars. (The bar is one of the few left in the county that still allows smoking.) In the corner, a jukebox played Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Two lottery machines and an old cigarette machine sit near the front door. An older woman played an electronic card game machine in the back beside a pool table. Barracuda’s hosts a pool league on Wednesdays in the summer, and plaques and trophies line the walls from pool league championships over the years.
Once the appetizers came out, the importance of Acworth’s attachment to Barracuda’s is quite evident. The two businesses are fully connected by a hallway that runs between them. If you want to eat without the smoke, there are picnic tables inside Acworth where you can still order alcohol from Barracuda’s to enjoy with your meal.
After appetizers, the steamed crabs, a lump crabcake and a cream of crab soup make you forget you’re in a small bar.
T.J. Pershing is the manager of Barracuda’s and has been with the bar for more than nine years. The secret to Barracuda’s success is quite simple in her eyes.
“We’re a smoking bar, and that keeps regulars coming back,” Pershing says. “It’s a hometown bar where you feel at home, and with Acworth next door, we have access to fresh seafood. And no other bar really has that to the extent that we do.”
Even with Barracuda’s success, Pershing has been collaborating with owner Jim Kurnik and kitchen manager Holly Smith to roll out a few improvements that will be implemented over the next few months.
Green salads, vegetables and new signature seafood combination dishes are going to be added. With the draft beer selection being limited, another four taps will be installed to feature a rotating selection of craft brews, including some from local breweries.
Cosmetic improvements are on the way as well. Walls will be painted, the current tables and chairs will go in lieu of high-top tables and chairs and the parking lot will be re-paved.
“We’re redecorating the whole place,” Pershing says. “Barracuda’s has done well, but we’re taking steps to make sure that continues.”
The biggest change of all could be the smoking policy. A smoking bar for 10 years, Barracuda’s is considering banning smoking to go after more of a lunch and dinner crowd.
But no matter the changes, the bar – with its slew of regulars and treasured pool table – will still be there. And – just as important – that hallway connecting to Acworth will keep in arm’s reach the jumbo clam strips, salmon cakes, breaded oysters, steamed shrimp, steamed hard-shell crabs, snow crab legs and seafood chowders for which the bar is known.
Call me a betting man … Barracuda’s Seafood Pub can look forward to the next 10 years.
• 2256 Industrial Highway, York; 718-2529
• Sunday, 11 a.m.-12 a.m.; Monday, 10 a.m.-12 a.m.; and Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m.
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