The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

July 31, 2013

Oakboro restaurant reels in customers for fish fare

By Mary Sycuro for the SNAP

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 — Open since February, Joel’s Family Restaurant is at 205 E. First St. in Oakboro.  Owners Cathy and Joel Hatley’s motto is “A Family Place To Eat.”

Joel’s offers mostly a seafood menu, but also serves non-seafood dinners for those who prefer it.

The Hatleys have been in the restaurant business in and around Stanly County for a number of years and hail from the southern part of the county.

They have opened restaurants in New Salem and Anson County. This is their first restaurant in Oakboro.  

Joel began his experience with seafood restaurants when he was 14, almost 50 years ago, and it has been a passion of his ever since.  

The Hatleys have worked with Jay’s, Stony Gap and Rocky River restaurants in the past and report some wonderful experiences that helped them make friends among the seafood restaurant community.

“Even though they are our competition, we are friends, too, and we help each other out when we can.”

Since Joel’s is a family business, the staff is mostly the Hatley family, which is entrenched in Stanly County. Their children and grandchildren work at the restaurant, but they have hired some young people from the area and the Hatleys enjoy bringing jobs into the Oakboro community in a family atmosphere.  

“We have five other than family who work at the restaurant. We couldn’t do any of the fish houses without family. Learning to work and enjoying it in a family atmosphere is our goal,” Joel Hatley said.

Joel’s menu consists primarily of fried, broiled, boiled and grilled seafood, but also includes steak and chicken entrees, appetizers and side orders, a senior citizen’s and kid’s menu, and sandwiches.   

“We don’t really have specials, flounder is our big seller, and perch is very popular, along with Alaskan whitefish. We have some people who really enjoy whiting, and naturally we have a lot of shrimp,” Cathy Hatley said.

“We will be looking into other types of fish as they become available.”

Joel’s Family Restaurant is open for dinner from 4-9 p.m.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Mary Sycuro is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.