Calera Fish Market is a big hit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A fish market, is a fish market, is a fish market.

Well, not necessarily.

Crowds have been pouring into The Fish Market Restaurant in Calera since its opening four weeks ago.

For many, it is was their first time eating at a Fish Market,

one of the many new restaurants to open in Calera, but for some, like Frank Neeley, the trip to the Calera Fish Market was a transfer of allegiance.

Neeley said he has been going to the Fish Market in Hoover for many years and was elated to find that one had opened up in Calera, a location much closer to his home and work.

He was crammed around a small table with three friends who had joined him for their lunch hour.

Their table was covered with oversized seafood dishes, and they all echoed his sentiment: &uot;The food is pretty good. I’m coming here instead of (Hoover).&uot;

Diners can expect the food to be good; but Richard Einhorn, manager of the Calera Fish Market, said they should not expect to eat the same food as they do at the Fish Market in Hoover or on Highway 280.

Einhorn said while all four Fish Market locations in the Birmingham area have the same name and logo, the Hoover and Highway 280 locations have different menu items and are not owned by George Sarris, who owns the downtown location and co-owns the Calera location with Einhorn.

&uot;Most people that eat here like it better,&uot; he said.

&uot;We are copying the Birmingham Fish Market not the Hoover Fish Market because Birmingham is the original Fish Market. It opened 20 years ago.&uot;

The Calera Fish Market’s menu mirrors the menu at the Birmingham Fish Market, with the exception of specialty items like frog legs and alligator meat.

Einhorn said he will gauge customer interest before deciding to bring more exotic seafood items to the menu.

&uot;I haven’t brought those down because I don’t know if people will like it,&uot; he said.

Einhorn said he has been surprised by the reaction to the restaurant’s opening.

It was quiet the first day because they had not advertised the opening, but by the second and third day people started pouring in, he said.

&uot;We have been busy ever since,&uot; he said.

Eventually, Einhorn said they will build a fresh fish market and an oyster bar inside the restaurant. He also plans to expand restaurant seating.

The Calera location was chosen for the restaurant because of the city’s rapid growth and the lack of area competition, he said.

Calera Mayor George Roy said he is excited about restaurants like the Fish Markets opening in Calera.

&uot;I don’t know where all the people are coming from, but it seems like every restaurant is doing great,&uot; he said.

Since the Fish Market opening in Calera, John Sieweke, an employee at the Alabama Power Complex in Calera, said he has eaten there two days a week.

He said he likes the atmosphere of the Calera Fish Market because it is more laid back the other Fish Market restaurants.

&uot;Everything down there is real hoity-toity, but down here in Calera, it’s more friendly,&uot; he said.