Our Story

oyster-cage
Our ROCKSALT and BRINE restaurants reflect the best of what’s local, whether it be our grains, produce, or meats, complemented by seafood from the Carolina and Virginia coasts, including Croxton’s own oyster and clam farms. Croxton has spent decades in the best kitchens across the country and has realized that the greatest chefs and restaurants in the country are the ones that champion their local farmer and continuously work to educate their staff and customers.

Each restaurant has a menu unique to its location and feature the oysters from Rappahannock River Oysters, which Travis co-owns with his cousin Ryan Croxton. The cousins are credited with rebuilding the Virginia oyster industry by using ecologically-friendly aquaculture harvesting techniques and leading a renaissance of oyster farmers in the Chesapeake Bay.

Travis Croxton – Proprietor, RockSalt

Travis headshotTravis Croxton is co-owner of Rappahannock River Oysters, LLC, an oyster farming company in Virginia. He co-owns several oyster farms throughout different regions in the Chesapeake, as well as a clam farm in Chincoteague, Virginia. Croxton’s accomplishments have garnered him recognition as an innovator in the culinary world; Food & Wine magazine recognized him with the 2005 Tastemaker’s Award. Croxton was also recognized in 2013 by Zagat as one of the “24 Restaurant-World Power Players Around the U.S.” for his work with Rappahannock, as well as another project with cocktail expert Derek Brown, the oyster bar, Eat the Rich, and the whiskey-soaked, Southern Efficiency right next door.

In 2014, Travis won the acclaimed Elby Award for Restaurateur of the Year in Richmond and was awarded as one of Style Weekly’s Top 40 under 40. Most recently, Travis was appointed to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Commonwealth Council On Bridging The Nutritional Divide.

You can also find Travis alongside Craig Rogers at the Lambs and Clams tour, making appearances at events such as the annual Charleston, Atlanta and Aspen Food + Wine Festivals.

Jim Diecchio – Executive Chef, RockSalt Charlotte

Jim's headshotJim Diecchio grew up in Manassas, Virginia, and most recently was the Chef de Cuisine at Brine in Fairfax, Virginia. Brine is one of RockSalt’s two sister restaurants that was opened in 2015 by Travis Croxton, co-owner of Rappahannock River Oysters. Jim had heard good things about Rappahannock Oysters and knew of Chef John Critchley of Brine from local events. He joined the Brine team and continued to gain experience that would take him to his next role. Rocksalt had been looking for just the right Executive Chef and Jim thought this would be a great fit. He and his wife decided to make the move south.

Graduating from West Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Resource Management, Jim knew he had a passion for cooking from his experience working in restaurants. He went to work at Monterey Bay Fish Grotto in Pittsburg where over 20 types of seafood were offered on the menu. He moved back to the DC area when Monterey opened a location in there. He has experience as Sous Chef at Vermillion, Zaytinya, one of renowned chef José Andrés’s popular restaurants, and Iron Gate.

Jim has a passion for creating new combinations using local, seasonal ingredients and incorporating Mediterranean ingredients from his varied background at the different restaurants.

Photos from Rappahannock River Oysters, Topping, VA. Courtesy of Tyler Darden Photography.