Small Business Spotlight: Cap’n Cats: A South Jersey Gem With A Personal Touch

By: Taja Johnson, Follow South Jersey Intern

Cap’n Cats brings the taste of the shore to the suburbs. Photo credit: Taja Johnson.

VOORHEES, N.J. – In the heart of Voorhees, New Jersey, Cap’n Cats Seafood Restaurant has become more than just a dining establishment; it’s a testament to the unwavering passion of its owners, Tom and Dawn Barnholt, and their dedicated staff. 

Cap’n Cats owners Tom and Dawn Barnholt. Photo credit: Taja Johnson.

At Cap’n Cats, the love for seafood, culinary craftsmanship, and community spirit come together to create an exceptional dining experience. Here, the love for seafood, culinary craftsmanship and community spirit come together to create an exceptional dining experience.

Tom and Dawn Barnholt’s journey with Cap’n Cats began as a shared dream. With a profound love for seafood and a vision to bring coastal flavors to Voorhees, they opened their doors to the public. Their passion for seafood and dedication to their community have been instrumental in the restaurant’s success.

“When the original owners still owned it, this was my high school job as kid, and later I became an owner,” Tom Barnholt said. “All the furniture I put together and helped to set this restaurant up. I just love what I do, and it comes naturally.”

The cornerstone of Cap’n Cats popularity is undoubtedly its commitment to serving the freshest seafood. Tom and Dawn Barnholt take pride in sourcing the finest catches from trusted local suppliers. This dedication to quality shines through every dish, from succulent crab legs to perfectly grilled salmon. For seafood lovers in town, they are known for exceptional taste and freshness.

“Things like calamari, scallops and crabs are straight from the East Coast and it’s fresh all year,” Dawn Barnholt mentioned.

One of the keys to Cap’n Cats’ popularity is its talented and passionate staff, led by a dedicated head chef. Together, they form a culinary team committed to creating dishes that not only tantalize the taste buds but also celebrate the essence of seafood. From the moment you step inside, the enthusiasm and camaraderie of the staff are palpable, making every visit a memorable experience.

The head chef at Cap’n Cats, Ruben Martinez, is a culinary artist, crafting a menu that showcases the finest seafood offerings. From classic New England clam chowder to innovative seafood specials, each dish is prepared with precision and flair. It’s evident that the chef takes pride in every plate, ensuring that patrons leave with a lasting impression of delectable flavors.

Head chef, Ruben Martinez, crafts his menu with a variety of seafood offerings. Photo credit: Taja Johnson.

“I enjoy what I do and make every meal look and taste great,” Martinez said. “I even remember my regulars, while they’re walking in, I am already prepping their favorite dishes.”

Beyond the culinary excellence, what truly distinguishes Cap’n Cats is its strong connection to the local community. Tom and Dawn Barnholt actively participate in community events, support local initiatives, and collaborate with nearby businesses. The restaurant serves as a hub for community gatherings, where neighbors can come together over delicious meals and shared experiences.

“I’ve been here for 20 years, and most of the staff have been here a while,” Cap’n Cats’ waitress Dorris said. “I’ll say we know about 90 percent of our customers, and we always give everyone great service. Our customers always tell us that it feels like their second home when they visit.” 

One loyal customer, Mark, said that the food is worth traveling for.

“First time I came to Cap’n Cats was in 1983,” he said. “I literally eat everything. I can eat 25 shrimps to go. I also live about an hour away just to come here. They treat everyone the same, it’s the best place.”

The restaurant’s welcoming ambiance and sense of belonging have made it a cherished part of Voorhees. Whether you’re a seafood enthusiast or simply seeking a warm and inviting dining experience, Cap’n Cats is the place to be. Cap’n Cats stands as a reminder of the value of a personal touch in the restaurant industry. 

Tom and Dawn Barnholt’s dream of bringing the flavors of the coast to Voorhees has not only become a reality but also a beloved tradition for residents. With its passionate owners, dedicated staff, and talented head chef, it continues to be a beacon of culinary excellence and community spirit.

Cap’n Cats is located at 700 Haddonfield-Berlin Road in Voorhees Township. You can visit their website by clicking here.

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