Cape Coral seafood market expands to include full restaurant
The restaurant offers a variety of seafood, chicken and steak menu items.
For over 20 years, Merrick’s Seafood Market has been a staple in Cape Coral.
Now the next generation wants to take the business to the next level.
In 1991, Richard and Joan Santorico moved from New York and opened the seafood market on SE 47th Terrace. Over the next two decades, the market became one of the largest suppliers of seafood to restaurants and retailers in Southwest Florida. Today, the market supplies 250 restaurants in the area their seafood.
Five years ago, daughter Kerry Krieg and her husband Patrick decided to move back to the area. After two years back in the area, the couple bought the market from her parents in 2010. Having years of experience in the restaurant business, the couple saw an opportunity to expand on the success of the market and open a restaurant next door, “We had customers who kept asking for prepared food,” says Kerry.
Soon the couple began asking the customers what selections they would like to see and the two began creating a menu. At the same time, they began planning out the look and feel of what the restaurant would be. They soon realized they wanted something that was unique, and built on the quality food Merrick’s has become synonymous with over the years, “We wanted it to be funky and casual, but at the same time provide high quality food,” explained Kerry. “We were looking to create a South Beach atmosphere inside and a casual patio experience outside.”
To create that South Beach feel, the Kriegs began with a dark blue interior complete with hanging lights and digital menu boards behind the counter. Scattered around the inside are enough tables and chairs to seat around a dozen customers at a time, giving the restaurant a cozy, quaint atmosphere.
On the outside, two recently completed decks adorn both the front of the restaurant and seafood market for those who are looking to enjoy the Florida outdoors while dining.
As the restaurant began to take shape and the opening grew closer, the couple turned her attention toward staffing the restaurant. Fortunately, they didn’t need to look far. Much of Kerry’s family resides in the area, some already worked in the market and the others soon became involved in the restaurant. Between the market and the restaurant, it became a true family business, “Both my sisters, my sister’s husband, even my mother and father are pitching in.”
Kerry says having the family, particularly a family from New York working so closely creates a dynamic work environment, “If a reality TV show ever approached us they would have a field day.”
With everything in place, the family opened the doors of the Fish Tale Grill just a few weeks ago.
To get their feet wet, the restaurant opened for lunch, with a light menu that included a number of items including; soups, salads, seafood plates, sandwiches and desserts. Though they are a seafood market, the restaurant also serves chicken and steak.
Since opening, the restaurant has received rave reviews, “So far people love it,” says Kerry.