In a surprise move, owner Mike Stollenwerk has left the fold at Fish, the critically-acclaimed seafooder he brought to life in 2009. Before opening the doors at Fish, Stollenwerk had purchased jewelbox BYOB Little Fish in 2007, and turned it into the best seafood restaurant in Philly that often made appearances in national magazines.
Stollenwerk's exit follows a turbulent existence for the restaurant since moving to the new, larger location at 13th and Locust (it opened at 17th and Lombard in the former Astral Plane space). Fish was packed all the time and had a fairly small dining room when it first opened, so Stollenwerk & Co. thought the move to a bigger space in a more popular neighborhood was a no-brainer.
But, the added competition for walk-in diners and high check averages didn't match up with the neighborhood clientele, and it was almost impossible to fill the number of seats, which tripled when they crossed Broad Street.
After an overhaul to the pricing of Fish, and then a move to a smaller space next door (the Fish space became Rhino Bar), Stollenwerk has turned over the restaurant to partner Evan Prochniak, and has left the business altogether.
Stollenwerk told Eater that he was going to take a little time to be with his family, but he wasn't out of the game forever. "I'll be back, probably early next year," Stollenwerk said. "And, I'll be doing seafood, of course."