The Evolution of the Flying Fish Grill: A new location and more
by Shannon Bowman-Sarkisian
Perhaps you happened to glance over at 99 San Mateo Road one day while heading over the hill. You noticed that the Flying Fish Grill was gone. Panic set in. Where did the local favorite go? Why didn’t anyone tell you about it? How are you going to get your clam chowder fix? The light changed, you crossed Main Street, and relief set in as you realized that Flying Fish Grill had quietly moved into what was once La Bamba. Crisis averted!
The new location is bright and spacious. The walls are adorned with tropical murals and black-and-white photographs of planes descending toward island destinations. The relaxed, friendly feel of the old Flying Fish Grill is still present, but it’s almost as if the ambience has been allowed to unpack and breathe. “I kind of like my space,” says Flying Fish Grill proprietress Reenie Gore. “This is very light and airy and pleasant.”
The décor is a fusion of styles. “I have to give credit to my daughter and husband,” says Gore. Her daughter “likes to travel, and she really feels that when people go out to a place they want to kick back and relax. They want a very pleasant, relaxing, uplifting environment. As for the planes, that’s my husband’s background. He used to have a flight school. His heart is with the airplanes. And of course, we own the 3-Zero Café at the airport, so he wanted to bring that motif over here.”
The Flying Fish Grill began 20 years ago as a doughnut shop named Doughny’s. Six months after the shop opened, it evolved into the Flying Fish Grill. A new sign with the new name was placed over the old one, and new items were added to the menu. Fish ’n’ chips, clam chowder, salads and hot dogs were the standard fare. The menu developed slowly and was based on customer requests. The business grew as well, but with 60 seats and only eight indoor tables, the building quickly felt cramped instead of cozy. “We had been looking around for another place because we’d been outgrowing Flying Fish for a good ten years,” says Gore. “It was just like everything jelled for us. Everything was really smooth.”
At its new location, the Flying Fish Grill is continuing its history of ongoing change. “We’re always growing,” says Gore. “We’re trying to move away from our paper liners and our baskets. It’s just this continual evolution. … That’s what makes it so exciting and fun. You never know what direction you’re going to move in from one day to the next. Instead of being a picnic place, now we’re trying to be more full-restaurant style, with all that comes along with that.”
But don’t expect to see Gore in front of Flying Fish Grill with a marching band, balloons, and a “We Moved!” banner. The evolution of Flying Fish Grill has been quiet and consistent. “I don’t like a lot of attention,” she says. “I like to be in the kitchen. I like to develop behind the business scenes. I have a passion.”