Q&A: Fish scores touchdown at Shula’s

Published on
December 17, 2009

Legendary National Football League coach Don Shula and his son, Dave Shula, recently opened their newest franchised restaurant, Shula’s 347 Grill, inside the Westin Lake Mary hotel in Lake Mary, Fla. The casual 347 Grill — the ninth to open under this concept — features specialty fish, gourmet salads, steaks and burgers. Based in Miami Lakes, Fla., Shula’s operates more than 30 locations in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Arizona.

SeafoodSource caught up with Dave Shula, president of Shula’s Steak Houses, and Bob Luckhart, chef of the 347 Grill, at the eatery’s grand opening.

Blank: How is 347 Grill different from your other concepts?
Shula: It is a more casual concept and we have more variety in sandwiches and salads. Here we do salmon, ahi, shrimp and other regular [fish] items, along with grouper, or whatever our chef can get in.
Luckhart: Everyone confuses us with a steakhouse, but we offer salads and sandwiches. Grilled grouper was our sandwich [special] today and they were obliterating us for lunch.

What seafood entrées and salads are popular?
Luckhart: We feature three different fish every single day, including grouper, wahoo, mahi and kingfish. We use wild salmon on the menu every single day and we also do a nice sushi-grade tuna for our seared tuna. We are trying to do different Gulf fish when they are in season; we have snapper in next week. We are buying the whole fish and breaking it down ourselves. We have a grilled shrimp Caesar salad, and a seared Asian tuna salad, which is one of our best salads.

Where do you buy your seafood?
Shula: We source from Halpern Purveyors of Meats & Seafood in Atlanta. Then our chef will source locally. We want to take advantage of our pricing [through corporate], but we also want to support local.
Luckhart: We buy from Gary’s Seafood in Orlando, Fla. Right now, we are trying to feature more Florida coastal seafood and sustainable seafood, rather than items like Chilean sea bass, which is ridiculously expensive.

Will you add more seafood items to the menu in the future?
Luckhart:
We may start bringing in scallops for specials and, at some point, lobster tails. We have only been open a month or so, so we’re trying to focus on the basics right now.

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