By LOIS KINDLE
Despite recent reports to the contrary, The Fish House in Ruskin is very much in business and not facing foreclosure.
In fact, owner Julie Cockerham is kicking off the new year by adding Wednesdays to the eatery’s regular schedule of Thursdays through Saturdays.
“I plan on keeping this schedule at least through Easter and beyond that, if sales warrant,” said Cockerham, who purchased The Fish House from its first owners, Jeff and Cheryl Horne, in 2008.
Over the years since, she has supported herself and two children, now ages 14 and 16, and made countless friends as proprietor of the popular local restaurant.
“Places like The Fish House are an example of what makes our community so unique,” said Melanie Rimes, executive director of the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce. “Julie is very dedicated to the community and has been a huge supporter of it.
“I’m excited she’s adding Wednesdays to her schedule, and I urge area residents to come out and support her, she added. “This is an opportunity and the time to support small business.”
The Fish House is open year-round on its days of operation from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The only time it closes are the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Its menu includes generous portions of fried grouper, oysters and shrimp; clams, catfish and scallops; soft-shelled crabs, seasonal mullet and basa, it’s perpetual Number one seller. It also features all kinds of combos, sandwiches, side dishes, homemade desserts, a kids’ menu and chicken for folks who don’t eat fish or shellfish.
“We offer an extremely good product and old-fashioned customer service,” Cockerham said. “I’ve been blessed to have the continued support of this wonderful community and the patronage of visitors from all around Tampa Bay.
“The best part of my job is meeting the people who live here, including those who founded and grew up in the community,” she continued. “My kids are fourth-generation Ruskin, and we’re proud to be part of it.’
Cockerham is looking to address what she calls the “changing demographic” of the South Shore area.
“More and more younger folks are moving here, so I’m planning to add non-fried options and offer items like fish and shrimp tacos,” she said.
The Fish House, 1902 Shell Point Road W., Ruskin, currently has a 4.8 out of 5 rating from reviewers on Facebook; 4.5 out of 5 on Zomato; and 4 out of 5 on Yelp. It’s ranked No. 4 of 49 restaurants in Ruskin on Trip Advisor and was a Gold Winner in The Tampa Tribune’s annual Reader’s Poll in 2014.
For more information, call 813-641-9451.