Leo’s has been an Alston Ave. landmark since 1977

By Julia Brooks
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

If you want to eat at a restaurant where the food is great and the employees are friendly, Leo’s Seafood is the place to go.

The shrimp plate is one of the main dishes at Leo’s Seafood at 902 N. Alston Ave. Leo’s Seafood has been serving NECD since 1977. (Staff photo by Julia Brooks)

Leo’s Seafood is located along the busy part of North Alston Avenue. It was started in 1977 by its founder, Leo Coates. To this day, the restaurant has been standing for 35 years in the same location.

Leo’s Seafood provides its customers with all types of fresh seafood, such as croakers, spots, shrimp, black bass, pan trout, flounder and snappers. The seafood is also accompanied with sides, such as potato salad, coleslaw, fried okras and hushpuppies.

Coates, 69, is originally from Garner. He moved to Durham in 1969. Coates worked with another company before starting his business.

“Fresh fish and it’s a family business and the community is like an extended family and seafood is healthy food,” said Coates.

The restaurant helps contribute to the NECD community because it has a good amount of walk-in trade. If a person wants to come and grab a bite to eat, they wouldn’t have to walk a far distance.

Nicholas Eugene Day, a janitorial worker at Leo’s Seafood, has been employed there for three years. He feels that the restaurant is well needed in the community.

“The community needs this business for cooked food, and you don’t have to walk so far,” Day said.

He enjoys his time working in the restaurant. “It’s going pretty good,” he said. He also has hopes in the restaurant improving. “It might get better since they built a grocery store.”

The restaurant has been managing well. “It’s been pretty good. It’s like everything else, up and down,” said Coates.

Coates is a very busy man. He assists customers and answers telephone calls, all the while making sure his employees are successfully doing their jobs.

Coates has a close connection with his customers. They are friendly towards each other. They hold conversations as if they have known each other for a long time.

Coates also knows his customers very well. He calls them by their first name without it being mentioned to him.

Robert L. Atkins, Jr., a helper at Leo’s Seafood, has been an employee there for two years.

“It been good,” he said about working with Coates. He also feels that the restaurant is a good thing in the NECD community.

Vernon (who says he never gives out his last name) has been a customer at Leo’s Seafood since its doors opened. He loves eating there.

“The seafood is great,” he said. He thinks others should come to the restaurant because he feels the food speaks for itself.

If you would like to visit Leo’s Seafood, the address is 902 N. Alston Avenue in Durham. It is across the street from the new Save-A-Lot Food Store.