On the spot: Michael Cole, Parkers’ Lighthouse

Published on
November 21, 2010

As part of its nearly completed remodel, Parkers’ Lighthouse in Long Beach, Calif., is adding a steakhouse/supper club concept to its seafood restaurant. While it has focused on serving a variety of fresh, sustainable seafood for the past 27 years, executives want to offer live music and other food options to locals and tourists who are out on the weekends.

SeafoodSource recently spoke with Parkers’ Lighthouse General Manager Michael Cole about the institution’s seafood menu changes and how the eatery will be transformed.

Blank: Describe the renovation of your restaurant.
Cole:
We are doing a complete makeover of the entire facility and are implementing a warmer feel on our first floor. We had all white walls and hardwood floors. The biggest change will be to our third-floor area. Over the years, it has been known as a place to go and get a beer, with a casual atmosphere. Now, we are basically transforming it into a function room, and a prime steakhouse on Friday and Saturday evenings. It will have prime steaks and a limited menu — comparable to a Fleming’s Steakhouse or Morton’s — along with live music.

By upgrading the facility and the menu, we hope to cull from some of the outer reaches of Long Beach, including Orange County and Pasadena.

How will the seafood selections change on Parkers’ menu?
We have been a seafood restaurant for 27 years, and it is still about fresh seafood. We are transitioning, but the core menu will stay intact. We are making some changes to our staple items, whether it be fish and chips or encrusted wild salmon, by adding different sauces and preparations. We still need to serve items like clams, shrimp and lobster.

We also sell a lot of salmon. When wild salmon is in season, we bring it in, but we also serve farmed Atlantic salmon. We sell a lot of scallop dishes, and shrimp dishes are really popular. We have also had a full sushi bar for well over five years — it is a big part of our brand. We have a very talented sushi chef who has been with us since the beginning.

How important is it to you to buy local, sustainable seafood?
We are one of the founding partners of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s sustainable seafood program. We use a lot of local and wild seafood, including wild Alaska halibut and fish from the Hawaiian islands. We like to feature a lot of sustainable seafood, including barramundi. We have a balance — some items are sustainable and some are not. We buy from about five seafood vendors, including Santa Monica Seafood and Ingardia Brothers.

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