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.

Jonathan Shuler – Executive Chef, RockSalt Charlotte

Jon headshotBorn in New York and raised in the Raleigh, NC area, Jon is a passionate and motivated chef who’s always looking to grow and perfect his craft while showcasing the skills he’s learned from his culinary journey.

Earning his A.A.S. in 2013 at the Chef’s Academy in the Research Triangle, Jon cut his teeth with a coveted internship at Disney World’s fast paced Tusker House, which specializes in African and American cuisine.

From there he gained a wide knowledge working in kitchens at popular Cary, NC restaurants, Lucky 32 (Southern), Academy St. Bistro (French) and Gosman’s Dock (seafood) on the waterfront in Montauk, NY.

In 2014, Jon joined The Oak Scratch Kitchen Bourbon Bar (Southern Fusion) in Raleigh, where he quickly rose to be named Chef de Cuisine. There, Jon put his stamp on menus, specials, pairings for events featuring their extensive bourbon collection and oversaw all back of the house operations.

In 2015, he also became Chef de Cuisine at Oak’s sister concept, Taste, Small Plates & Wine Bar. At Taste, he expanded their offerings with creative food and beverage pairings while helping the parent company increase growth at both concepts.

In late 2017, Jon joined us here at ROCKSALT as sous chef. But as fate would have it, he soon got the opportunity of a lifetime to spend 6 months traveling Europe to indulge in the culture and cuisine. Who could blame him?

After his return from that incredible learning experience, we’re excited to welcome him back as Executive Chef at ROCKSALT. His personality and passion for his craft are infectious and shine through his food. He’s excited to dive into his new role and become a part of the Charlotte community.

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