You have to admire Fred Thimm. The seasoned and experienced restaurant industry veteran, whose résumé includes executive stints at Palm Restaurants and Hard Rock International, opted to leave the corporate world behind to open a seafood restaurant in a space that previously housed one of the area's most hallowed restaurants. No small task, that's for damn sure, but Thimm has both the will and the wherewithal to make Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen & Bar a success in Winter Park's competitive landscape.
"We're very fortunate to occupy the former Ravenous Pig space," says Thimm, "and we're striving to complement Orlando's, and Winter Park's, status as a food city by celebrating fresh, sustainable, Florida seafood and the city's Southern culinary roots." After serving as president of Stoney River Legendary Steaks in Nashville, Tennessee, Thimm and his wife moved here in 2012 and "fell in love with Orlando" for its diversity, lakes, water culture and proximity to both coasts which, naturally, helped his cause.
"Living here allows us to procure a wide variety of fresh seafood daily and introduce a diverse demographic of tourists, residents and students to traditional Southern flavors and Lowcountry offerings," Thimm explains. After encountering a few hurdles early on, Reel Fish appears to be attracting that diverse demographic yet, still, Thimm remains cautiously optimistic. "We aspire to be everyone's favorite local seafood joint," he says, then adds: "and earn our way." —FK
Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen & Bar
1234 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park 407-543-3474