Fish Out of Water gets revamped as FOOW
By Michelle Farnham
St. Joe Club & Resorts realized its fine dining restaurant Fish Out Of Water was a bit of a … well, a fish out of water. Located within the WaterColor Inn, a new “clever, hip and fun” restaurant seemed more in line with the “WaterColor casual” attitude St. Joe strives to maintain. Management closed down the AAA four diamond award recipient this summer, rebranded and re-opened as FOOW (pronounced “foo”).
“It is no longer a fine-dining restaurant that you only go to for anniversaries and Valentine’s Day,” said Andrew Czarnecki, St. Joe’s managing director of resort operations. “It’s a place you’ll go to every day while on vacation and two or three times a week if you’re a local.”
What’s up with that unique name? you might be wondering.
“We wanted people to understand the correlation that FOOW is still owned and operated by the same company, but that it’s completely new, improved, and different,” Czarnecki said.
Diners will notice the restaurant itself has undergone a major transformation, too.
“The space has been reimagined with a streamlined open-air kitchen, an expanded Gulf view bar that wraps around from the interior to exterior to bring the sense of the outside in, as well as updated décor and high-end design flourishes that underscore WaterColor Inn’s natural seaside atmosphere,” explained Czarnecki.
The dining room is full of fun yet understated surprises. Fish scale glass decanters decorate each table and the silverware has a subtle fish scale design. The menu includes clever little sayings, including Julia Child’s famous quip, “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
“It is important to highlight the brand personality through different avenues such as these small touches. It’s not as much about the upscale dining as it is about the overall guest experience,” added Kyle Davis, assistant director of food and beverage for WaterColor Inn.
New name, new menu
Executive Sous Chef Preetam Pardeshi and Chef de Cuisine Christopher Mayhue used a “coastal global approach” to craft FOOW’s new menu.
For example, the Tandoori Grilled Shrimp starter combines pickled red onions, sumac, cilantro-mint yogurt and lime. The Day Boat Line-Caught Grouper utilizes field peas, kale, brown butter citrus sauce and green tomato corn chow-chow, and comes grilled, blackened or fried. From the “On the Ranch” portion of the menu, you’ll find Grass-Fed Lamp Chops, served Harissa-spiced with baby carrots, feta, mint and a roasted red pepper puree.
While the restaurant is open for lunch and then again for dinner daily, the FOOWbar keeps the fun going from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. A selection of FOOWbar bites are available even when the kitchen is closed, and during Happy Hour (3 to 7 p.m.) bottled beers are $3, draft beers $5, and specialty cocktails and wines by the glass are on special for $6. Liquor is served half-off as well, with an entire “Rum Around the World” menu available.
FOOW boasts an impressive wine cellar, with well-traveled labels from India, Macedonia, South Africa, and New Zealand.
Not just for date night
Families are welcome for an unpretentious meal while enjoying the expansive Gulf view, unique dishes and professional service.
Kiddos eat free from 5 to 6 p.m. daily, and have a menu all to themselves. The “Mac Double” Cheeseburger, for example, features two 4-ounce burgers and creamy mac n’ cheese. For those with a simpler palate, the toasted PBJ is served on buttered brioche with grape jelly. Any of the five kids’ options come with a choice of fries or seasonal fruit.
FOOW is open daily for lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner service. Located within the WaterColor Inn at 34 Goldenrod Circle, they operate on a walk-in basis only. Find more information online at watercolorresort.com/dining/fish-out-of-water