Urban Seafood Co. brings New England-style dishes to downtown Plano

Photo by Kathy Tran.

Finishing up construction at 1104 14th Street in Downtown Plano, the team behind Urban Crust and Urban Rio is adding a new sibling to the Urban Family Restaurants. Focused on serving the freshest fish, lobsters and most anything that swims, Urban Seafood Company will take up residence across the entire first floor when it opens this spring.

Urban Seafood Co. is owned and operated by Nathan and Bonnie Shea and their business partners Salvatore and Jeanne-Marie Gisellu. The foursome has certainly done its part in bringing quality dining to Plano residents. Their first culinary venture together was Urban Crust in 2009, which many locals believe sparked the area’s transformation from a sleepy downtown into a vibrant, diverse neighborhood.

Formerly the location of a Rodenbaugh’s Outlet store, the new four-story building houses Urban Seafood Co. on the first floor, Urban Core — a Lagree fitness studio run by Nathan and Bonnie’s three daughters on the second floor — and office space at the top.

“It’s been a while, but we’re just about there,” Nathan says. “Our biggest challenge right now is the City [of Plano] building the parking lot. We’re kinda at the mercy of them, but we’re close.” 

The new restaurant will have Salvatore, affectionately known as Chef Tore to regulars, at the helm as executive chef, a position he commands in all three Urban Family Restaurants. In his role, he’s helped shape and refine both the menu and the interior space at Urban Seafood Co.

One of his favorite aspects about the kitchen? The adjustable, wood-fired grill that allows complete control over the temperature and char level of dishes. “It’s amazing.” Salvatore says. “It’s almost like a Maserati. It’s one of a kind.” 

The custom-built piece of equipment is complimented by Salvatore’s other pride and joy in the kitchen — a fully climate-controlled prep room for fresh seafood. “We will be able to get whole fresh fish to break down here” he says. “We won’t ever have to remove it from this room.” 

By keeping the fresh fish and seafood at a constant low temperature, as opposed to removing it and cutting it in the warm air of the kitchen, the team helps ensure quality throughout every step of the preparation process.

The menu at Urban Seafood Co. will have a coastal focus, a fresh take on New England-style seafood. Items such as lobster rolls, housemade pasta and of course fresh-grilled seafood will take center stage. The restaurant will also have an assortment of fresh and grilled oysters served barside. 

The restaurant’s concept was inspired by the Sheas’ love of traveling around New England, enjoying the food at places along the water. And Salvatore is the perfect partner for that concept. Growing up in Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy, he’s no stranger to preparing fresh seafood. 

Customers who are looking to take something to go can enter the restaurant from a smaller side door that leads directly to the seafood market. The market will have an assortment of freshly caught and freshly prepared seafood on ice, as well as unique dips, spreads and sides of Chef Tore’s creation.

The interior of Urban Seafood Co. is about as varied and flexible as the menu. Spanning across a wide footprint the restaurant holds room for a main dining area, a private room, an oyster bar, a cocktail bar, a small seafood market — and an enormous outdoor dining patio. 

“The patio is our big focus,” Nathan states. “All the windows open up, so you can get that nice breeze in the summer to cool off. And we’ve got an area over here just for a live band.” 

Inside the space a saltwater fish tank separates the private dining area from the main room. Although not yet complete, it already eludes a warm, comfortable atmosphere that has been suited to fit almost any occasion, from casual lunches to fine dining.

While the exact opening date for the building hasn’t been set yet, they’re aiming for sometime in mid-June. With the inevitable economic rebound slated to bring customers back out in droves, the Sheas and Gisellus are confident that Urban Seafood Company will become another welcome member in the Urban lineup of restaurants dotting Downtown Plano. 

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