Ronald L. Williams, a sixth-generation Washingtonian, who has business interests in crabbing, oysters and poultry farming, will bring his talents to Ward 8 in the form of a food establishment located in the Historic Anacostia neighborhood.
“It is my intention to bring a farm-to-table restaurant and bakery to the ward,” said Williams, who resides in Ward 7 with his family. “My place will cater to the happy hour crowd and the goal is for it to be an active destination spot for Ward 8. I know this will work because there is an economic base in Anacostia that is middle class.”
Williams serves as the founder and CEO of RT Williams Seafood Inc., which will add his new seafood eatery and bakery as one of its possessions. He has years of experience harvesting seafood from the Chesapeake Bay as a waterman for Dorchester’s Seafood and Dorchester’s Farm Food HUB on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Williams plans to convert some old buildings at the intersection of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenues in the Southeast quadrant of the city into his establishment. He has gotten the support of The Menkiti Group to assist him with his venture in addition to District government officials. Williams has decided to call his new establishment “Captain Ron’s Seafood Market & Bakery.”
Williams’s cuisine will primarily come from the crabs and the oysters he harvests on the farms and buildings he owns in Crisfield and Smith Island on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. One of the few African Americans active in crabbing and oyster farming, Williams said he had to overcome hurdles and challenges such as securing financing and winning the acceptance of the white long-term farmers. He developed a routine of harvesting crabs and coming back to the District to sell them. He counts anti-gang violence activist Ron Moten and Ben Soto, an attorney with strong political connections in the District among his solid customers.
Williams will also get seafood for his establishment from Black farmers located in Buford County, S.C., Macon, Ga., and in Florida. He said Black seafood farmers throughout the South are organized and are doing business with each other in order to survive financially.
“I have a Black farmer who sends me shrimp on a regular basis and he charges me good prices for it,” Williams said. “I can get a 100 pounds of shrimp for $80 and that is a good bargain.”
Williams said when his operation becomes profitable, he plans to make donations to organizations serving the Ward 8 community.
“I want to make sure to give seniors in the ward a personal touch,” he said. “They can get the harvest from the field to your door is what I tell them.”
Williams said his establishment will likely open in either late summer or early fall in 2023. He said the facility will be 7,000 square feet with a cost to build ranging from $250,000-$1.5 million. Meanwhile, he plans to increase his pop-up business at city events and continue his crabbing.