Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Evans and Nikki Trawick started the Cape Fear Seafood Company in 2008 to provide fresh, locally caught seafood and Southern-style hospitality. Their dream has now expanded to three restaurants in the Cape Fear region and two franchised locations in Raleigh. But life threw the entrepreneurial couple a curve ball when their 7-year-old daughter, was born with a single ventricle heart and had to endure several open heart surgeries. It inspired the Trawicks to partner with Duke Children's Hospital and establish The Trawick Pediatric Cardiology Research Fund. We spoke to Evans Trawick about Cape Fear Seafood and the journey along the way.

By Rebecca Clothier

Tell us the backstory to Cape Fear Seafood Company.

Fifteen years ago, Wilmington and the surrounding areas needed a seafood restaurant. When I looked around, I didn't see one. That's when the idea behind Cape Fear Seafood Company really was born. Growing up in Pender County and having eaten at some of the institutions Southeastern NC and the NC and SC coastal areas had to offer, I felt it was needed in the market. So we set out to fill that niche. I had been in the restaurant business since I was 17 at that point and still had the energy to come up with a new brand (CFSC) in my early 30's.

What was your background in the food business?

I got my start washing dishes and delivering pizzas in Burgaw at a small-town pizzeria. Eventually, I learned to prep, cook, manage and learn what it would later take to run a successful restaurant. I worked in several kitchens and developed my own style both culinarily and business-wise. I opened my first restaurant at age 27 after returning to the area after college. After running that successfully with my wife Nikki for five years, we decided that a new direction was needed and began opening our original Cape Fear Seafood Company location in Monkey Junction.

What is The Trawick Pediatric Cardiology Research Fund, and what does it do?

This is where our hearts are. My wife and I have been blessed with two beautiful children. Our son Jarrett is a Sophomore in High School and is the best son a father could ask for. He has been the best big brother to his little sister Ande and continues to amaze his mother and me daily with his kindness, passion, and bravery. Ande, our 7-year-old daughter, was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome or a single ventricle heart in layman's terms. She has had to endure three open-heart surgeries since birth, but today looking at her, you would never know it. She is fun, energetic, and a whirlwind of what's exciting at every turn. Nikki and I partnered with Duke Children's Hospital after Ande's birth. The Trawick Pediatric Cardiology Research Fund furthers pediatric cardiology research, not just for single-ventricle patients but also for children with all types of congenital abnormalities heart defects. With the help of the doctors and researchers at Duke, we hope to one day contribute to the lives of those with similar conditions as Ande, based on the research we can help perform.

What makes Cape Fear Seafood unique?

In a word, consistency. CFSC has, from the early years, been able to provide our guests with the same experience day after day, year after year, and now from location to location. We are committed to providing our guests with a comfortable, relaxed dining experience full of innovative flavors and classic dishes, each prepared with attention to detail and an emphasis on Southern hospitality. Our staff does a phenomenal job of taking the vision for Cape Fear and translating it to our gu