Chef Andrew Gruel and his wife Lauren have finally opened Calico Fish House, the pair announced on Wednesday. The concept, which was announced in July when Gruel chose to sell his original restaurant chain Slapfish to private equity and leave the company, is full-service, a first for Gruel.
“Calico is our family restaurant and our four children helped in developing the concept. We believe food should be simple if you have ingredients you love and a mission that speaks beyond salt and pepper,” Andrew Gruel said in a statement. “Calico hits all the notes when it comes to crave-worthy cuisine. We can't wait to grow this venture and have our kids take it to the next level one day. This is our American Dream — where the ocean meets your plate.”
Inspired by the Calico Bass native to Southern California, Calico Fish House, located in Huntington Beach, Calif., maintains many of the same principles as Slapfish when it comes to sustainability.
The seafood at Calico Fish House is locally and responsibly sourced, the meats come from small farms, and the produce is from Melissa’s Produce, a wholesaler based in Los Angeles. Calico only serves farmed seafood that has been certified sustainable by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.
The menu is centered around grilled à la carte proteins including fish, meat, and poultry served with 10 different sauces made daily. Shareable plates include house baked rolls with sweet lobster butter, lobster corndogs, Angry Lobster Pockets, and pretzel crusted crab tots. A daily crudo option complements the curated raw bar.
A selection of handhelds are also available at Calico Fish House including the Two-Handed Fish Sandwich with Tiger Sauce, Lobster Dog, and Jersey Burger with Taylor Ham, a nod to Gruel’s home state of New Jersey.
The menu also includes sides and salads that will change with every season.
Additional Calico Fish House locations are expected to open in the next 18 months, according to a release.
Andrew Gruel is CEO and co-founder of Huntington Beach, Calif.-based American Gravy Restaurant Group which includes Calico Fish House, Big Parm Pizza, Two Birds Chicken, Butterleaf, Lolo’s Tacos, and 101 Burger.