Seafood Lady uses social media to build fans
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - One of Louisville's hottest new restaurants is also one of its smallest.
A tiny banner on a fence is the only evidence it exists. On top of its door are signs for a market. It's called The Seafood Lady and it's named for its founder and owner, Nichelle Thurston.
"We're kind of stuck off in a corner and we're a little hard to find," she said.
Nichelle Thurston moved from Florida seven years ago for a job.
"I never could find awesome, really good tasting seafood," she said.
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She began nursing school and a little later decided to take the last $1,500 of her savings to start selling
seafood out of her house.
"It was all just on a whim," Nichelle Thurston said.
She used recipes passed down to her from her grandfather, who was a grand chef in the Navy and it worked out better than she, or her husband, Luke Thurston, expected.
"Getting off work and see 200 or 300 people standing on your porch waiting for your wife's seafood," Luke Thurston said. "I mean, I can't tell you the feeling, man."
After two months, she moved to a food truck and four months after that opened up her restaurant on West Oak Street.
Her only restaurant experience was working in a Church's Chicken and Steak 'n Shake.
"This is my first time actually running a full-scale restaurant," Nichelle Thurston said. "I think I've been
doing pretty good at it."
Her secret weapon is social media. From posting pictures of her food, she's gained more than 20,000 followers on Instagram and more than 15,000 on Facebook.
"If it wasn't for social media, I don't know if we would be where we are today," she said. "Between Facebook and Instagram, that's my customer base.
Her fans range from University of Louisville athletes to even Muhammad Ali, whose family has ordered delivery.
She and her husband said besides social media, they thank God.
"She said, 'Baby, one day God is going to bless me and we're going to make it someway somehow,' and it was with the crab legs and the shrimp," Luke Thurston said.
Her two brothers and her mom have started up places in Columbus, OH, Pensacola, FL and Baltimore, MD using the same recipes, and they all have been successful, too.
The Seafood Lady hopes to one day be as big as Red Lobster.
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