Buoy & Trap: A shucking good time
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Looking at the photos that grace the wall of the interior at Buoy and Trap, it’s quite evident that family has played a big part in owner Zack Duksta’s journey to opening up his new seafood market in Truckee.
As a fifth-generation Rhone Islander, Duksta has been shucking oysters with his dad in the kitchen since he was a kid. His career in the restaurant industry started at age 14 as a bus boy. He stuck with the industry through college (mainly with jobs in the front of the house), including through a move out west, where he looked to obtain his master’s degree.
Once he moved to Truckee, Duksta would often find himself taking trips to the Bay Area and bringing back oysters and seafood for get-togethers with friends and family. His knowledge and passion for seafood eventually lead to the opening of Shuck Truck Catering (a small raw oyster and lobster bar), which he would regularly show out for pop-ups at local establishments and special events.
“My original idea was to open up an east coast-style deli,” Duksta joked. “My girlfriend Liz (Forry) was the one who suggested seafood.”
That focused idea, along with the current location opening up off Pioneer Trail, as well as continual support from friends and family, Duksta put in an offer to take the space over. Although it wasn’t until about three months later until the offer was accepted, it gave Duksta some time to develop the overall plan for the business.
“I was already doing prepared food and pretty good at it – how hard is it to order fish and sell that as well,” Duksta questioned. “It would just be a second revenue stream and if the prepared side doesn’t go well, we could just be a market (and vice versa).”
On Feb. 2, Buoy and Trap opened its doors and since opening, both sides of the business have been doing well.
“We have a ton of people that come in and just buy fish, including some private chefs,” Duksta added. “On the prepared food side, we’re not reinventing the wheel. If you’re ordering a lobster roll, it’s going to look and taste like a lobster roll. The product is so good, we don’t want to mess with it.”
Product offerings range from California halibut to Ora King salmon out of New Zealand to oysters that are near and dear to Duksta’s heart. Friend Matt Behan from Behan Family Farms in Rhode Island provides Duksta with their specialty Ninigret Nectar Oysters.
“It’s an unbelievable product,” says Duksta. “Nobody in California has these. They come right out of the water and are flown in. Tide to table, as I like to say.”
Even though the prepared food menu is small, it is growing as weekly specials become more popular. The poke bowl was so well liked the first week they decided to keep it on the menu; and their baked oysters with black garlic might not be far behind.
Regardless of the offerings, Duksta’s passion for seafood and connection to people is quite evident as customers filter in and out of the market.
“People who like seafood want good seafood. But having said that, I want to remain accessible to friends. I am thankful to be here and especially thankful to all the O.G. Shuck Truck clients. They have been so awesome – a lot live on this side of Truckee – and it’s really cool to see the people that have supported me from day one, still supporting,” he adds.
While Duksta is also happy being able to utilize his degrees in accounting and small business, he notes that it just took the right amount of time to figure out what he wanted to go all in for as a career.
“I’m happy to be where I’m at. This is everything I’ve always wanted to do.”
Buoy & Trap Seafood Market is located at 10825 Pioneer Trail Ste. 100 in Truckee. For more information, reach them by phone at 530-536-5031 or visit them online at buoyandtrap.com.
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