Back in 1980, George Whitby sold crabs and oysters from ice chests in his car, moving about Westhampton to five or six favorite spots and always marking his location with a yellow patio umbrella. He built a following and eventually got a bricks-and-mortar location. His seafood business, the Yellow Umbrella, at 5600 Patterson Ave., has grown into a food-lover's paradise well beyond his early imaginings.
The business, now owned by his son David Whitby, recently broke through the next-door pilates studio and doubled in size, offering a range of prepared foods — potatoes Lyonnaise; cheese grits; curried lentil, apple and Italian sausage soup; shrimp scampi, and many other items — as well as a changing bounty of fresh fish that is sought-after by local chefs and home cooks.
David Booth runs the shop's kitchen, where former Zed CafAc chef Bill Foster is a regular contributor. They develop new recipes to supplement the traditional items like crab quiche, clam linguine and seafood gumbo.
The shelves and cases are stocked with smoked-salmon dips, select wines and cheeses, Flour Garden breads, local produce and gourmet comestibles.
“We're trying to be a one-stop place for our customers,” Booth says, “and to offer as much as we can in the new space. We're lucky to have our clientele: people who trust us and who like to find a broad spectrum of fish and will venture into what we recommend.”
These days, that might be Kona Kampachi, a high-quality aquaculture fish that is sashimi-grade, or whole fish such as red snapper, branzino, royal dorade and local rockfish, or lucky lime oysters. “We'll bring in live sea urchins sometimes or sea scallops,” David says, and, pun intended, “whatever floats our boat.”
The shop is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, and will add Monday hours and cooking classes in the new year. 282-9591.
Turkey and Tofurkey Lurking
Vegetarian Society of Richmond: Vegan Thanksgiving potluck, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m., Friends Meeting House, 4500 Kensington Ave. Free for members, $3 for nonmembers. Bring a vegan dish to share and the recipe. Reserve by calling 344-4356. www.vegetarianrichmond.org.
Savor: Trimmings such as stuffing, gravy, cranberry relish, vegan stuffing and desserts to pick up by reservation Nov. 26. See www.savorcompany.com for details.
Manakin Grill: Thanksgiving buffet Nov. 27, noon-4 p.m.; bottled wines half-price all day. Reservations at 784-0544. www.manakingrill.com.
Grandpa Eddie's Alabama Ribs and BBQ: Nov. 19 is the last day to preorder smoked Thanksgiving turkeys. Pick up Nov. 25 or 26. 270-7427 or www.grandpaeddiesbbq.com.