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In the latest episode of “Hot off the Press,” Chef Pete Blohme broadcasts from Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina located in one of Alabama’s most beautiful coastal towns. Pete sat down with owner and operator Johnny Fisher, whose restaurant experience includes stints at the iconic New Orleans’ House of Blues, The Cheesecake Factory, and Lulu’s at Homeport Marina in Gulf Shores, Ala. Johnny also helped to develop The Gulf at Perdido Pass in Orange Beach in 2012.
Named one of the South’s Best Restaurants of 2015 by Southern Living Magazine, Fisher’s opened in May of 2013 and houses two restaurants under one roof. Fisher’s Upstairs offers an upscale, yet comfortable dining experience, while Fisher’s Dockside is perfect for families looking for a more fun and casual atmosphere coming straight off the beach or the boat. Both offer a seasonally inspired menu with original recipes using local ingredients—a fresh and delicious alternative to the traditional fried seafood basket.
Pete talked with Johnny about his unique “Fisher philosophy” that focuses on hospitality and attention to detail, both of which help to create the intangible energy and vibe that makes for an enjoyable and memorable dining experience. A former college baseball player, Fisher credits the team experience and influence of his coaches for his ability to take a “servant leader” approach in developing a restaurant staff that also shares his vision and passion.
While a big dreamer and creative thinker, Johnny says that surrounding himself with people who “get it” —people who also share his “hospitality gene”— has been the key to his success in the industry. One of those people being Fisher’s Executive Chef Bill Briand, who spent seven years working alongside celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse and nine years with James Beard Award-winner Donald Link. Bill was recently selected as a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award himself— moving closer to a goal Johnny and Bill set out to accomplish on day one.