By Lauren Kramer, SeaFood Business contributing editor
Published on 23 May, 2013
Clothing retailer Tommy Bahama is confident that shoppers want food when they shop for vacation apparel. It’s why the chain, owned by Atlanta-based Oxford Industries (OXM) opened its first retail-restaurant location in Naples, Fla., in 1996, along with 14 more over the 17 years that followed. The most recent restaurant store opened on 5th avenue in Manhattan in December, with a bar featuring a sugarcane press for cocktails and a menu offering vacation-style dishes like grouper Reubens, macadamia-nut encrusted snapper and seared scallop sliders.
“We have 10 different types of seafood at our Manhattan location,” says chef Don Donley, culinary director for Tommy Bahama Restaurants. The food is elegant but simple, island-inspired American cuisine with a special emphasis on seafood. Top sellers include coconut shrimp, ahi poke Napoleon and tiger shrimp pasta.
Each of the retail-restaurants has the same core menu but adds regional cuisine in line with its particular market. Offerings in Manhattan include swordfish and striped bass, while the Naples, Fla., location features black grouper and the Mauna Lani, Hawaii, restaurant menus pink snapper, opah, monchong and broadbill swordfish.
In a December 2012 push toward sustainability, the Tommy Bahama Group’s restaurants made the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program a company standard. Among other changes, it meant removing Chilean sea bass from the menu and replacing it with black cod, or sablefish.