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Fish ‘craving’ answered

Captain Ernie’s Fish House Restaurant, set to open in Campbell Station Center, has set an opening date for the end of September.

Ernesto Rodriguez, owner, moved to Knoxville from Key Largo, Fla., more than a year ago, leaving a life as a commercial fisherman.

“This is my own first restaurant. I’m doing it because I’ve been in the commercial fishing business for 30 years and I sold my fish to one of the restaurants in Key Largo for 20 years,” Rodriguez said.

“I’ve seen their operations: you know, how they get the fish I sell them, how they filet them on the premises, how they prepare them. They do the whole deal. It’s really like the latter part of the commercial fishing business.

“A lot of guys just open their own place and get the fish off their own boat,” he added.

Before deciding to open his own restaurant, Rodriguez studied the Knoxville area and the possibility for a casual seafood restaurant.

“I really want to be prepared to open,” Rodriguez said.

“Here in West Knoxville, there’s nobody really doing casual seafood dining,” he added of the area’s need for seafood restaurants.

“I’ve been up here the last year-and-a-half; really, really researched it … getting a feel for the area. West Knoxville is really craving something like this,” he said.

Rodriguez even sold area fish markets some of his product to test the market before deciding to open Captain Ernie’s.

Rodriguez’s casual dining restaurant will serve lunch and dinner.

“It’s going to be very casual dining. We’re going to be targeting the lunch [crowd], you know, fish baskets, shrimp baskets, fish sandwiches. Then at night, we’ll have some dinner items,” Rodriguez said.

Dinner items will include the house special, pan sautéed yellow tail snapper, with a choice of four sauces.

“We can do the pan sauté with any of the four or five distinct fish that I have,” Rodriguez said of other dinner options.

“I have some cooks that are coming from Key Largo … that are coming here to teach us the sauces and the recipes, to really give us a good hand.

“When we open, we can have something really, really good to offer,” Rodriguez said.

Captain Ernie’s also will have lobster, shrimp, crab and fish on display for retail sale.


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