MEET ALFREDO AND THE STAFF

Alfredo and Franco

My roots began on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in a little town near Positano, on the Amalfi Coast.  I come from a family of fishermen so naturally; fresh seafood has always been in my blood.

 

After 40 years in the restaurant industry, I wanted to go back to my roots, just like my Grandma did and create a feast from daily fresh catch – the fresh fish left on our boat after selling our catch at the fish market.

 

My grandma always told me, “Grandson, it’s fresh fish!  How can you screw it up?!” That was her secret recipe then and it is ours today.

 

With seafood delivered daily, combined with aged meats, local fruits and vegetables, lots of imagination, creativity, new and exciting recipes,  and last but not least - lots of love for food and people has made Fresh Catch Bistro what it is today!

 

Fresh Catch Bistro is one of the best seafood experiences on the Gulf of Mexico! We guarantee the freshest products along with professional service and topped off with majestic sunsets to make your visit a memorable one.

 

From Positano to Fort Myers Beach, I want to humbly thank my amazing staff, and the customers for making Fresh Catch Bistro a great success!

 

Your Host,

 

Alfredo Russo

 


Meet Our Staff

 

 

Catch The Vibe with Fresh Catch Bistro’s Bartender Greg Krumreig

 

One of the things most people love about Southwest Florida is our laid-back, chilled-out vibe. We are not frenetic like the East Coast of Florida, and our attitude shows it. Now, if you’ve been here during Season, it certainly gets busier and traffic is denser, and you’re more likely to have to wait to get your favorite table at your favorite restaurant. But it’s still pretty chill here, even during that time period. And during the summer, we all slow down even more. Now is the best time to make a reservation at Fresh Catch Bistro, or just to stop in during Happy Hour to check out the new martini recipes everyone’s favorite mixologists have created. We spoke to 
Bartender, Greg Krumreig, about some of the summer specials, and why now is one of the favorite times of year for this Southwest Florida native.

 

Q: Are you a native Floridian? If not, where are you from and how long have you been here?

I’m a native Floridian, born and raised right here in Cape Coral. And I’ve been living right here in Fort Myers Beach, on the beach, for about four years.

 

Q: What’s your favorite thing about living here in SWFL?

My favorite thing about living here in Southwest Florida is that I can do all the things I love year round. I love the weather here, it’s amazing. And the activities I love are outdoor activities like golfing and fishing. I never have to stop doing those for months at a time, the way I would if I lived up North. We don’t have anything here that stops me from doing those activities whenever I want to.

 

Q: What’s the best thing about SWFL in the summer? One of the best things about this area in the summer is that you don’t have to worry about crazy crowds of people. Fresh Catch is a popular restaurant all throughout the year. But during season, you are typically going to have to wait a little longer for things. During the summer you get to have a more intimate dining experience. 

 

Q: Tell me about some of the summer specials in terms of cocktails etc.

Well, we just sat down a few weeks ago to create some new martini flavors, and they are all really colorful and unique. The best thing is that we have Happy Hour 7-days-a-week from 3:30-5pm, and most of our martinis are on the $5 list, so you can try out all the new flavors. One of my favorite new ones is called the Green Meanie. It’s coconut rum, spiced rum, melon liqueur and pineapple juice. It’s a great summery melon flavor and it looks like the Gulf of Mexico does in the summer!

 

Q: How long have you worked at Fresh Catch Bistro?

I’ve been working at Fresh Catch for about four years now.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite story, memory or anecdote about working here?

Aside from meeting my wife, Alex, and getting to work with her every day, the two of us have met some really amazing people while working at Fresh Catch Bistro. We have a huge regular clientele who come in for us, and we’ve developed fantastic relationships with them. Yes, they come in for Chef Pablo’s food for sure, but they also come in to visit us. And the relationships often develop into amazing friendships. Our dear friends have invited us to travel to visit them, and to spend holidays with them or go out with them on their boat. For example, we had this really cool opportunity last year, and got to go up to Tennessee to a yacht party to watch the eclipse! It was incredible, there were a bunch of yachts tied up together, and we just spent the time drinking cocktails and hopping from yacht to yacht. Alex and I are just so grateful for the incredible connections we’ve made with people we both care a lot about now.

 

Q: What’s your favorite dish at Fresh Catch Bistro?

Our menu is so awesome and Chef Pablo always does an amazing job with the specials, it’s always really hard for me to answer this question. In fact, people ask me all the time, and then I end up recommending five or six dishes, and they say to me, “well that didn’t really help narrow it down.” But, what can I say, our food is so good! I will say I’m really a meat and potatoes man, so I love our prime rib. . . it’s juicy and tender and perfectly cooked every time. And all of our specials are always unique and interesting and super, super fresh, so you can’t go wrong with any of them.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite cocktail as well?

We have really been growing our cocktail list and we have 16 specialty martini’s on our list. We’ve created those recipes in-house and they are unique and delicious. One of my favorite new ones is the Raspberry Truffle Martini. It’s a dessert martini that looks beautiful and tastes delicious. It is white chocolate liqueur, coconut rum, and raspberry liqueur, with a raspberry and white chocolate drizzle.

 

Q: What’s the best thing about working at Fresh Catch Bistro?

My favorite thing about working at Fresh Catch Bistro is the team of people I work with. I absolutely love Chef Pablo, because he makes my job easy. I have 100% confidence in him and his staff, and the fact that everything that comes out of his kitchen is fantastic. I’ve never worked anywhere else where I can say that. But my customers at the bar are happy customers all the time, and that makes my job so much easier.

 

 

Catch The Vibe with Jerry Nolan, Manager for Fresh Catch Bistro

 

JerryWith this Catch the Vibe, we are excited to introduce you to one of the managers who’ve worked longest at both Fresh Catch Bistro and Junkanoo, Jerry Nolan, Manager. Jerry worked for years, not just in New York City, but in the Empire State Building! This guy really knows the restaurant business, and his loyalty and passion for the staff and clientele at Fresh Catch Bistro is so inspiring!

 

Jerry is also a well-known personality here in Southwest Florida, as he used to host all of the dance contests and other contests for Junkanoo back in the day, so he’s kind of a local celebrity too. He’s got a level of pride and ownership about Fresh Catch Bistro that we think you’ll find touching.

 

Q: Are you a native Floridian? If not, where are you from and how long have you been here?

I’ve been in Southwest Florida for the past 16 years. I came from New York City, lived in Brooklyn and worked in the city for years. I used to work for the Reise Corporation, running their two restaurants that were in the Empire State Building. I left not long after 911 happened. I opted to come to Southwest Florida because I have family down here. I found Junkanoo in 2004. For the first few years I used to go back and forth to NYC. I would work for the Reise Corp. during October, November and December, which is sort of like “season” for NYC. At that time, it was slow down here in Southwest Florida, not like it is now. Now those months are very busy here. During those years Junkanoo was the number one nightclub on the beach. We had DJs and the local radio stations would broadcast from Junkanoo during our dance contests because we also offered the largest cash prize in the area. At one time we were offering a $1,000 prize for the top dance couple! Like all of the dance clubs on Fort Myers Beach, we stopped being a nightclub after a bad gang element started to hang out in the local clubs.

 

Q: How long have you worked at Fresh Catch Bistro?

 

I think I’ve been working at Junkanoo and Fresh Catch Bistro longer than any other manager, I’ve been here 15 years!

 

Q: What’s your favorite thing about living here in SWFL?

 

My all time favorite thing about living in Southwest Florida is this time of year! I am a huge baseball fan, and spring training is so much fun here! I love going to the spring training games here in Fort Myers and of course I go up to Tampa too, so I can see my favorite team, the Yankees! I also love going to the park, Lakes Park is one of my favorite places here and I love to go walk my dog at the park and to go chill out in the shade there.

 

Q: Tell me about some of the changes that have occurred while you’ve worked here.

 

We have recently refurbished Fresh Catch Bistro with new lighting, flooring and décor and it’s beautiful. We also restructured the menu. Chef Pablo and his entire crew are amazing, and customers have been going crazy over the new recipes they have been creating. Our Paella sold out a couple of weeks ago and the Sea Bass dish came close last weekend. In fact, people love those dishes so much that they will come in during Happy Hour and are willing to pay full price for them!

 

Our two owners, Franco Russo and Jack Hines, and the upper management team, Christine Delaney and Neal Vanvliet, have been asking us for suggestions and have really been listening to us and making the changes we’ve requested. For example, our manager, Tom Olson, was originally a wine salesman, and is really a wine connoisseur. They’ve allowed Tom to change a lot of the wine selections we offer at Fresh Catch Bistro, and customers are really loving the new wines, and they are buying a lot of wine!

 

Q: Do you have a favorite story, memory or anecdote about working here?

 

At Fresh Catch Bistro, I’m the “trivia guy.” Every day we do a little trivia contest and someone can win a free drink and people absolutely love it! If I’m not there, someone from the restaurant will call me for the trivia question, lol! I started it three years ago and now people expect it! Also, one thing that really touches me, is that people come to the restaurant and want to take pictures with me! I’m no Tom Cruise, so I really take it as a compliment. The highest compliment is that people want that picture with me, and to tell me how much they loved the food and experience of being there. Often they won’t leave until they’ve had a chance to tell me how great their server was, and how well the chef did in creating their meal. During season we are too busy, but in the off-season, when they do that, I love to bring out Chef Pablo to chat with them. He is a phenomenal cook and has such a great personality, that customers love to meet him!

 

Q: What’s your favorite dish at Fresh Catch Bistro?

I love the Cranberry Crusted Grouper, but being from NYC, I’m really a meat loving kind of man. So my true favorite is the Prime Rib, which sells out almost every day! Chef cooks it to perfection, so it’s juicy with just the right amount of fat on it, and it comes with some delicious sides as well. I think it’s the perfect meal for meat lovers like me.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite cocktail as well?

Well, I only drink off-duty of course, but my favorite drink is a Grey Goose screwdriver, It was also the favorite drink of our founder, Alfredo Russo!

 

Q: What’s the best thing about working at Fresh Catch Bistro/Junkanoo?

I’m really proud of where I work. One thing that really stands out is that people who come to Fresh Catch Bistro love it so much, and the clientele treat us like family. They hug us and kiss us and take pictures with us when they come in, and they very often come looking for me as the manager to thank me for their experience. Customers are just so happy to be here! And let me tell you, I’ve worked in the restaurant business for 40 years and that is not the norm. We work hard to keep a high quality staff at the restaurant. It’s like the Yankees, they are not allowed to go out on the road without packing a suit and tie, and we try to maintain that same kind of consistent high quality with the staff at Fresh Catch Bistro.

 

When I take my wife out for dinner, I take her to other restaurants (because you don’t always want to eat where you work lol), but what I’m looking for is the same level of service and quality of food as Fresh Catch Bistro, and because of that there aren’t many other places we go. There just aren’t that many restaurants that can live up to my standards. Clearly, others feel the same way, because they begin lining up for our Happy Hour an hour before we even open! It’s because we have such an amazing Happy Hour, not just the great specials like $5 martinis and glasses of wine, but also because we offer some really delicious food during that time. It’s not the average Happy Hour food. We offer Lobster Mac and Cheese, Osso Bucco, Calamari, and fresh oysters. These aren’t the finger foods typically offered. I mean, even high-end restaurants tend to offer junk food during Happy Hour, but our food is way above and beyond that.

 


 

Catch The Vibe with Fresh Catch Bartender “Alex” Aleksander VonKrumreig

 

AlexGet to know us! Here at Fresh Catch Bistro, we consider our staff to be family. And in fact, many of our staff have been with us for years, and we’ve grown up, grown older, and grown closer as we’ve worked together as a team to serve you some of the best seafood and cocktails in Southwest Florida. We are excited to introduce you to some of our staff, and even to some of our regulars using this Q&A format! Feel free to ask us any questions you’d like to see answered in future posts!

 

When we say our staff is like family, we mean it! So we’re excited to start off this series with an interview with one half of a couple who really IS family with her coworker. This dynamic duo has been bartending together at Fresh Catch Bistro’s bar for the past four years, and they just recently tied the knot! Native New Yorker, Alex, tells us some of her favorite things about working at Fresh Catch Bistro, and about living here in Southwest Florida.

 

Q: Are you a native Floridian? If not, where are you from and how long have you been here?

I am a native New Yorker. I worked in the hospitality industry both in New York City and out east on Long Island in the Hamptons. Five years ago, I visited Fort Myers Beach and fell in love with it, and I wanted to live here full time.

 

Q: What’s your favorite thing about living here in SWFL?

The weather, hands down! Every day is bright and sunny and beautiful and I love that. It’s hard to be unhappy at all when the sun is shining and you work at the beach! I love living in Paradise. We live right across the street from the beach, and then work right on the beach. I get to watch the incredible sunsets every night and it’s such a happy feeling to see the beach and the palm trees every day.

 

Q: How long have you worked at Fresh Catch Bistro?

I’ve been working at Fresh Catch Bistro since 2014, so four years.

 

Q: Tell me about some of the changes that have occurred while you’ve worked here.

Over the last few years, we’ve become more and more like family here. Everyone is super positive and really friendly. Having great people to work with is the best! And one of the things I love is that Greg and I have really gotten a following now. There are a number of people who come to the bar to see us all the time. We pride ourselves on going beyond just the typical, “How is your martini? Or is your lobster mac and cheese to your liking?” We try to get to know people and our managers here really encourage that, and have created a great atmosphere. Our bar area at Fresh Catch Bistro seats about 50 people, but it still manages to be a very intimate space. We feel like we are welcoming guests into our home. I’ve worked in lots of bars and restaurants, even country clubs, and never developed the kind of rapport we do with our regular clients here.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite story, memory or anecdote about working here?

Well, of course my favorite story about Fresh Catch Bistro is when I first met my husband! And everyone loves hearing that story, I tell it all the time at the bar! When I first moved here, I was craving a really great meal of fresh seafood. I looked up restaurants on the Web and Fresh Catch Bistro was #1 on Trip Advisor, so my friend and I decided we had to go. But, we didn’t make reservations and it was during Season, and Fresh Catch Bistro was super busy. So we ended up going downstairs to eat dinner at Junkanoo. Even though the food was delicious at Junkanoo, I was determined to have something at Fresh Catch Bistro, even if it was just dessert and a cocktail. So we went back upstairs after dinner and sat at the bar. My now husband, Greg, was bartending that night and he was so friendly and engaging and made us feel so welcomed. I had just quit my job at a country club and he talked to me about it. He said, “Why don’t you come work here?” So I applied and a week later we were coworkers! We work really great as a team. He’s my best friend too, and people who come here regularly are so used to seeing us together, that if we are not working the same shift, they ask for him. Our customers know us so well that they will even ask if Greg is golfing or inquire about where he is. It’s so different from working in New York City where everyone is on the go and as a bartender you are just a number to them. . . here you are a person and people are so laid back and relaxed, it’s really wonderful working here.

 

Q: What’s your favorite dish at Fresh Catch Bistro?

My favorite dish is the Miso Teriyaki Sea Bass served over Chef Pablo’s Lobster Risotto. But I will tell you that everything on the Chef’s Feature Page is delicious!

 

Q: Do you have a favorite cocktail as well?

We are known at Fresh Catch Bistro for our martinis! We make 13 different delicious martinis and my favorite one is the Pineapple Upside Down Martini. But, the best selling martini is the Chocolate Martini made with Godiva Chocolate Liqueur.

 

Q: What’s the best thing about working at Fresh Catch Bistro?

I can’t name just one thing, so can I give you three? First is Chef Pablo’s food, there is nothing better! Second is the people I work with. And the third is the location and view from the restaurant. I love living in paradise and I get to see the sunset every night!

 

3040 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 | 239.463.2600