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Longtime Cape Coral seafood shop to open cafe

By Staff | Feb 9, 2013

Merrick Seafood has grown and matured in pretty much the same way Cape Coral has.

From its humble beginnings as a fish market, it has grown to become a wholesaler for restaurants and make prepared fish dishes you can cook at home.

Now, it has decided to expand to include the Fish & Tale Grille at their location on 1227 S.E. 47th Terrace.

But even though Merrick Seafood has evolved, the constant has been the ownership, which has stayed in the family since it opened in 1991, seemingly forever in Cape Coral years.

“We took over the business from my parents four years ago. We came from the restaurant business, we do a lot of meals to go here and prepared items,” said co-owner Kerryanne Krieg. “We supply over 250 restaurants in the area.”

It is truly a family business. Debra Santorico, Kerryanne’s sister, has worked at Merrick from the beginning (at age 10), and several other family members also work there.

Merrick’s extended family, its longtime customers, has clamored for a restaurant for years. With its well-earned reputation for fresh seafood, it seemed a natural.

“We already prepared food, it seemed like a natural progression,” co- owner Patrick Krieg said. “The customers asked for it and we haven’t been in a position to do it with us growing the market and wholesale.”

When the time was right, they bought the empty framing store next door and turned it into the Fish & Tale Grille, complete with sea-themed ornamentation and a small menu that manages to snag the interest of people, regardless of whether they like seafood or not.

After a soft opening last week to iron out any kinks and try out the food on staff and customers, the grill opens for business today and will offer prepared seafood, soups, salads, sandwiches, desserts and more.

Among the offering of the sea are the Tuna and Salmon Tartar, fresh seafood ceviche, Asian shrimp salad, fried oysters and a Seafood Cobb Salad with jumbo shrimp,sea scallops, crabmeat, avocado, hard-boiled egg, red onion and cherry tomatoes over baby greens.

For non-fish lovers there is the Tuscan chicken, steak salad, chicken wings and quesadillas, with most offerings under $10.

“The buying power we have as a wholesaler allows us to pass the savings on to our customers,” Patrick said.

Executive chef Richard Montoya said the idea is to serve food that looks and tastes good at a price most people can afford.

“I wanted to do something off-scale, presentable and nice to the people on the Cape,” Montoya said. “I go back and get the seafood we need, it’s all fresh, and serve it to our guests.”

For now, it will be all take out and lunch. However, once the front seating has been completed, people can begin to eat outside and the menu can expand to the demands of the diners.

The Kriegs hope they can open for dinner eventually.

Merrick Seafood is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.