Seafood Destiny – A Promised Kept

Marissa Dick | September 15th, 2020
Pastor Anthony Knotts & family (Photos by JLG Photography)

Pastor Anthony Knotts & family (Photos by JLG Photography)

How often do you keep your promise(s)? If you are like most people, you make commitments to others all the time without really considering the ramifications of following through on your word. It can be a daunting task to follow through on every single promise you make in life, but how many you break and how you handle it when you do is key to understanding yourself.

According to Wikipedia, A promise is “a commitment by someone to do or not do something. As a noun a promise is a declaration assuring that one will or will not do something. As a verb it means to commit oneself by a promise to do or give. A promise can also mean a capacity for good, similar to a value that is to be realized in the near future.” Meet Pastor Anthony Knotts, husband, father, entrepreneur, restaurant owner, community leader, and promise keeper.

Pastor Knotts understands the integrity connected with keeping your word. He shares, “This all started because I made a promise to my children. I told them if they ever decided to go to college that a part of me giving them a head start is that they would not have to pay for it. So my baby girl took me up on that promise and told me she wanted to go to college and all I remember thinking was that I had no money to send her, but I see her steady applying to all of these institutions because she’s expecting me to keep my promise. All I could do was pray because I didn’t know where the money was coming from.”

Spiritually, Pastor Knotts understands that prayer is like a sweet perfume for God. He knows that God’s ears and heart are always open to listen to our petitions especially when that prayer comes from a place of humility and sincerity. As a pastor, he also knows that Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us, ““Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God” and so, instead of being anxious as he watched his daughter, Destiny, submit application after application to attend the college of her choice, he prayed without ceasing. As a father, Pastor Knotts recognizes the importance of keeping his word to his family. When we make promises and do not keep them that signals to the person, we made the promise to that they cannot count on us and that our words are void and without value. Just as committed as his daughter was with submitting college applications, he was equally determined to hear a Word from the Lord. And what a Word he received, “I came up with this idea while I was at a conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I went outside to speak with one of my spiritual daughters and get something to eat and while we were out there I heard the Holy Spirt say, “Look around” and as I looked around the Holy Spirit asked me, “What’s missing?” and I repeated, “What’s missing?” and He said, “There are no seafood trucks here” and that’s when it all began. After that I began to notice more food trucks and so I talked about it to my daughter and she was excited about it, too. So, I started cooking in my backyard; then I moved to the indoor porch and my wife finally felt sorry for me and allowed me to bring my idea into the kitchen! I would invite people over and let them sample the food for free and then I started selling and delivering from my kitchen so that started me thinking about purchasing a food truck especially after I had that conversation with the Holy Ghost and things were going well cooking from home.”

Pastor Knotts tried to find other locations but nothing seemed to really fit his need. We all know that “Favor Ain’t Fair” and in Pastor Knotts case here’s, why, “I got this building that we are in right now debt free because my contractor knew Alexander Devereaux. He reached out to Alvis on my behalf and it was God ordained because Alvis let me use his facility to prepare my food and didn’t charge me a dime. That kindness afforded me the opportunity to grow my business. I took every dime I earned from selling the seafood boils ad reinvested it straight back into the business and we remodeled this location and on July 9, 2019 we had our grand opening in spite of this pandemic we just celebrated one year of being in business. It’s something else because during this pandemic other restaurants have gone out of business but our business has flourished. We have gone from one person to over 25 employees both full-time and part-time. When I look back at it all I shake my head and I give God all the glory because all of this happened from a promise I made to my daughter. God is good, he heard and honored my petition. He provided for me so I could keep my promise to my daughter. I am happy to say that she completed her first year of college debt free and we were able to give away our first scholarship to another deserving college student during the pandemic.”

One man’s promise to his daughter in actuality became a blessing to many other students in the community who had desires to attend college. According to Pastor Knotts, “So the original concept was for my baby but now we have been able to work on scholarships for other students. There’s this young girl from my church who was recently accepted into medical school, so we were able to bless her with $2,500 scholarship to help her get started. We also hosted Ben L. Smith High School’s graduation ceremony here. We fed the students, the administrators, and the teachers. The students were able to wear their caps and gowns and we did all of this during the pandemic.“ The Bible teaches us that we are blessed so we can be a blessing to others and that is exactly what Pastor Knotts is doing. He is grateful for the private donations. Because of his work and their contributions, he is able to assist seven to eight students this fall 2020 – spring 2021 academic year.

Pastor Knotts recognizes that his promise was a part of God’s master plan because he is truly able to perform outreach ministry in the hedges and highways during this pandemic. Since he cannot preach the Gospel in the traditional sense, from the pulpit of his church, the Embassy Church, he has established what he has dubbed, a Market Place Ministry. He shares, “God blessed us immensely, so we have been able to feed about 2,500 essential workers from first responders, schoolteachers, hair stylists, postal workers, and bankers. You know I have always cooked fish. When I started our church, I fried fish for the college students and gave it to them. So, what we are doing now is no different. I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces when we serve them a platter because they are receiving mana during this pandemic. All of the hard work we put into preparing the food from slicing the turkey sausage to seasoning the food is God ordained because believe it or not I have never tasted any of this food. God called me on a fast a year ago and He hasn’t released me from it yet, so I have to trust Him with seasoning the food. We all pray, and some people know that so when they place their order some customers will actually ask us to send up a prayer for this person or that person. So, you see our ministry is so much bigger than just the food. God knew there would be a need for what we have to offer, and He put us in the direct path to be able to fulfill it. At this moment and time, I’m proud to be a part of God’s master plan. I just want to remain true to God’s plan and I want to use Seafood Destiny to continue meeting the needs of the community. This is a community business. It is a way for us to do ministry. At the end of the day it’s all about impacting people’s lives. Last June I started preaching to our church that God said He wanted to strengthen our ability. He said that He wanted to move in their lives. So now the church has become non-essential, but Seafood Destiny has become essential for our community. This whole thing is bigger than us.”

Within the last couple of years seafood restaurants have converged on the Triangle Area, in particular, Greensboro has become the home to many other seafood chain restaurants. One might wonder how the good Reverend intends to compete with these conglomerates. What does he have that is going to set his family owned seafood restaurant apart? He says, “I am proud to be a black independent family owned business in an industry that is dominated by corporate and chain seafood restaurants. You know God gave me this idea before all of the other crab places were here but when they opened up, I realized that I was not in competition with them. My goal was to set out to have the best crab leg boil in the Piedmont Triad area. I really believe that nobody in this area has a better crab boil than Seafood Destiny. I am not in competition with anyone especially when God is seasoning the food! You know my son came to me one time because he noticed all of the seafood restaurants opening so he said, ‘dad we need billboards’ and I said son we cannot afford billboards but what we are going to do is take what we have and use it. One of those things we had to use was giving the food away like I’ve always done so people could try it. Everybody thought I was crazy but when I did that people started talking and then the folk just started coming. Word of mouth is much better than any billboard. I think it’s amazing because people come from everywhere Virginia, Mississippi, New York, Maine, and Los Angeles. We actually had a lady from Raleigh place an order and actually drove here to pick it up. People come to taste the food and that’s why I am not in competition. There’s enough for all of us.”

The menu at Seafood Destiny is intentionally diverse from the types of seafood served. You won’t find any fried fish in this establishment. What you will find; however, are upscale seafood platters named after individuals who have been impactful in his life. Through his bountiful platters Pastor Knotts is mindful when naming his platters. For example, he recently added a George Floyd Platter. One dollar from each of these platters goes towards African American males who desire to attend college.

Pastor Knotts shares, “You know this situation with George Floyd is familiar to me. In 1993 Angelo Robinson was killed at a Waffle House in Concord, NC. He said, ‘I can’t breathe’ too after being pepper sprayed. When Angelo died thousands of people were there and it was amazing but one year later his mother invited me to come back and speak at his memorial service and it wasn’t 50 people there and that had a lasting impact upon me because I was like how can we go from thousands of people and all of the major civil rights leaders but a year later only a handful of people were there to console his mother. My takeaway from that is people are quick to forget but they can be memorialized in small ways. So, I decided on a Sunday morning that I was going to create a platter with George Floyds name but also in the back of my mind it has Angelo’s name there, too. I give a dollar from each platter we sell and set it aside to provide scholarships for African American men and women so they can go to school. I also name platters for people who have impacted my life like my Uncle Bo who was a big influence on me. I named my crab cakes after him. They’re called, Bo’s Crab Cakes because my uncle was an avid cook. He’s almost 90 years old now and living in a retirement home. I can’t go in there to see him, but what I can do is take him and his friends platters of food that are his name sake. So, this gives me the opportunity to honor people like him.”

One of the things Pastor Knotts looks forward to is returning to his neighborhood, South Side Village in Lexington, North Carolina and giving back to that community. He concedes that God has always placed people in his life who believed in him much like his foster parents Billy and Katie Bird who took him in as a child. He recognizes that everything he endured from being a foster child to becoming homeless helps him remain humble and in pursuit of helping others find their better angels and of course introducing them to Christ through keeping a promise to his daughter, Destiny. According to Bible Gateway there are 8,810 promises in the Bible. Which one is yours?

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