Staff Photo: Erin Evans. Steve Freeman, owner of Freeman's Low Country Fish Camp, puts out a few more fresh shrimp for sale in the seafood market at the Usher Street location. Freeman said his wife, Maggie, a school teacher, has been a great support in the new endeavor, as has Tim Layne, who assists him in the kitchen.
COVINGTON -- When you drive by Freeman's Low Country Fish Camp on the corner of Emory and Usher streets it might take you a moment to adjust to the location housing the newest seafood restaurant in Covington.
The building has been used as a laundromat, barber shop, pawn shop, Maryland Fried Chicken restaurant, a Handy Andy's convenience store and a pool hall.
But now, brothers Steve and Andy Freeman have opened both a seafood restaurant and a seafood market at the location and they plan on calling it home for quite a while.
"We're just thrilled to be in Covington," said Andy Freeman, who assists his brother, Steve, owner of the business. "Steve identified Covington as a good, progressive community that could support a restaurant like this."
The Freeman brothers -- Andy is from Walton County and Steve is from Rockdale -- were both in the building supply trade, but a restaurant was something that had always been in the back of their minds.
"Our background and what brought us into this business is our stepfather. He's a shrimper in an area down between Savannah and Brunswick," Andy Freeman said.
"He formerly owned a seafood restaurant on Colonel's Island in Liberty County, just above Darien. He has a seafood market outside of Statesboro. We've been around it ... we kind of grew up on the coast and Steve's always loved to cook and we know a little bit about seafood."
The first week in August, the brothers launched their low-country style restaurant, opening Tuesdays through Saturdays for lunch and dinner. A couple of weeks back, they added the seafood market, which is open Thursdays through Saturdays.
"We're getting a lot of repeat business and people coming in and saying they're glad we're here, their friends told them about it and that kind of thing," Andy Freeman said. "We've been real pleased with the response of the patrons so far. They seem to be excited we're here."
He said their most requested menu items are the fried shrimp and the low country boil, as well as the fried or broiled catfish, grouper and flounder.
"All of our fried foods are very lightly breaded," he said.
The breading is a corn and wheat flour mix, ground to a powder by the Atkinson Milling Co. in North Carolina, which has been grinding flour since 1757. Hushpuppies and grits are also made from the grist mill products.
"A lot of folks are trying to stay away from fried foods, but when they see how we prepare it, they know it's still fried, but it's not the heavy batter on it at all," Andy Freeman said.
One of the most popular items on the menu is the shrimp and grits.
"Steve does a sausage gravy ... a tan gravy with ground sausage in that. Then we actually fry the shrimp the same as we normally would and then he puts the shrimp in the gravy and that on top of the stone ground grits with scallions. It's very filling and very good," he said.
Sides include corn on the cob, cole slaw, red potatoes seasoned low-country style, red beans and rice, hoppin' John, cheddar biscuits and more. Popular dessert items, beer and wine are also available.
There is both a lunch and dinner menu, but all items are available at all times. Takeout is available.
The address is 2123 Usher St. Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 678-658-7828.