Fishtales proving popular with local seafood lovers
In "Kitchen Confidential," Anthony Bourdain famously advised diners, "never order fish on a Monday."
That works out well for Todd and Grace Fannin, who over the summer opened a new seafood restaurant in Batavia with a plan to make sure their fish is always fresh by buying it from the fish market in Buffalo on Wednesday and Thursday and serving it all by Saturday night.
"That's advice we live by because when we do have our liquor license and we are open seven days a week, we are going to have a tighter menu," Todd said. "Our menu is going to be a shorter menu the days we're closed now, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday."
With a little over two months in business under their belts, Todd and Grace like the way things are going and the response they've received from local diners so far.
"We wanted to bring something that Batavia had a need for," Todd said. "There was a customer base here that nobody tapped into. There are the burger joints and the pizzerias and the Smoke House and the Italian restaurants. We thought Batavia had a need for something of this nature that would appeal to a certain audience and we found that audience."
This is the fourth restaurant the couple has opened over the past 30 years. The previous ones were on the shores of Lake Ontario and while they also specialized in seafood, they were seasonal. Fishtales is their first attempt to run a seafood restaurant year around.
The location is 107 Evans St., Batavia, the same location as The Little Ridge and Delavan's previously.
Even without a liquor license yet and little marketing, people are finding the restaurant and the crowds are growing.
"We've had a couple of really great Friday and Saturday nights recently," Grace said. "The best we’ve had. I would say the business is building right now and that was our goal."
In recent weeks, flounder and snapper have been popular, along with tuna, cod, trout, and scallops (there's also steak and chicken on the menu).
"Last Friday, it was not your typical Friday fish fry crowd," Todd said. "It was a younger crowd, a full house and they were going for more of the sauteed and the broiled dishes. Our crowd is changing and yet it's growing."
Some local restaurateurs have shied away from seafood because customers demand freshness and they feared Batavia might not support seafood sufficiently to manage the product properly, but Todd said it's all about listening to your customers and paying attention to what they want. He felt confident he could make it work in Batavia.
"We don’t cut corners here; we try to put a good product out and I think people are starting to notice that," Todd said. "At least that's the feedback we get."