Ravenous Pig out in December, Reel Fish in by January

When the Ravenous Pig leaves the building at 1234 N. Orange Ave. on Dec. 1, seafood fans will have cause to rejoice.

That's when Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen & Bar, a venture by former Hard Rock International VP and COO Fred Thimm, takes possession of the Winter Park space bringing a beachy, relaxed eatery with a "surfer vibe."

Says Thimm, "Reel Fish will serve sustainable seafood in a white-washed remake of classic Southern coastal fish camps."

The menu will feature a rotating selection of seasonally available fresh fish from the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of Florida, as well as fresh Florida shrimp, traditional low country boils of lobster, shrimp and crab, and classic Southern sides like collard greens and smothered okra & tomatoes.

The kitchen will be helmed by Michael Hufler and Michael Zajac, two chefs Thimm has worked with previously.

Hufler, classically trained in France after graduating from the CIA, will be the primary creative force in developing the menu and daily features.

Zajac honed his chops at Houston’s Restaurants before opening High Cotton in Atlanta, then running his own restaurant consulting company. Zajac will oversee training and development of the restaurant's culinary team.

"Reel Fish’s core values will be true to its name," adds Thimm, "with a focus on real, clean, responsibly sourced ingredients and a commitment to community participation and giving back."

Seeing the Winter Park Fish Co. will be within walking distance, it'll be interesting to see if the strip is big enough for two neighborhood seafood joints. Thimm has a positive outlook:

"They do well and are successful, which validates the neighborhood's appetite for fresh fish."

One decided advantage for Reel Fish? A full bar featuring signature cocktails, craft beers and "reasonably priced" wine selections.

Thimm anticipates opening the restaurant in late January or early February after a light interior remodel which, he says, should last about six weeks.


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