Founded in 2017 by Ryan Griffin with partners Blake Thompson and Bill Griffin, Trophy Fish has become a staple in the Tampa Bay community, offering fresh fish and delicious island-inspired cocktails. They recently expanded into Tampa with their 2,000-square-foot Seminole Heights location. The Tampa location shares the building with its sister craft cocktail concept, Mandarin Heights, just next door. Trophy Fish’s flagship location is located in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg, FL.
We sat down with Jessica Campbell, Director of Marketing for Seed & Feed Hospitality, to discuss Trophy Fish’s new location, its approach, and what customers can expect from the fresh seafood and craft cocktail spot.
Can you tell us the Trophy Fish story?
Our owners are proud to be born and raised in St. Pete with saltwater running through their veins. They love our local seafood and support our local fishermen. While there are many seafood restaurants on our beaches, they felt that downtown St. Pete lacked a laid-back, come-all/serve-all restaurant with great seafood. From this simple thought, our little Trophy Fish was born. Our mission is simple: Provide our guests with the freshest fish while enjoying a refreshing Florida cocktail or beverage. Our casual atmosphere and eclectic design style allow our guests to enjoy good friends, great food, and make memories.
Can you tell us a bit about the leadership team at Trophy Fish?
Our hospitality leadership team is small but mighty, with intense passion and integrity for the industry. We are always striving for excellence and offering the highest standards within our Trophy Fish locations.
What is the philosophy behind Trophy Fish’s “fresh catch” approach to the menu?
While you may see a few consistent items at our fish house, our focus is on providing the freshest fish, so our menu changes with the catch(es)-of-the-day. Since they call it fishing and not catching, there may be days with fewer fish than others. Our food menu at Trophy Fish finds its inspiration from the diverse array of phenomenally fresh seafood sourced from our local waters. We focus on providing our guests with an elevated fish house experience where the quality of the fish shines. Our menu changes regularly based on what catch we get in that day, so check our daily specials when you stop in at one of our locations.
How has your opening experience been for the new Tampa location?
We have been open for almost three months and we have been welcomed graciously into the Tampa market! We have many guests that frequent us on a weekly basis and already have their favorites they look forward to. It has been a success thus far, and we look forward to continuing to welcome new guests as the word spreads.
Did you always know that you wanted to expand into Tampa?
Mandarin Heights is one of our other concepts and the space right next door became available, so it was the perfect opportunity to bring the Trophy Fish experience to Tampa and share the building with its sister concept just steps away.
Are there any differences between the St. Pete and Tampa locations?
St Pete is a completely open-air restaurant and offers a bit of a different experience. Tampa has an interior seating space and offers covered and shaded dining. Both locations offer the same food and drink options and laid-back, nautical vibe.
Can you explain the thought process behind the cocktail menu?
“Pouring our spirits to raise yours” has always been our team’s motto. We pride ourselves on providing award-winning cocktails for our guests to enjoy in our one-of-a-kind “bait shop chic” fish house. When creating Trophy Fish, we wanted to create a new genre of cocktails that we termed “Boat Drinks.” These include both classic nautical cocktails, such as the Hemingway daiquiri, the Salty Dawg, and the Dark & Stormy, as well as our novel signature cocktails like the Pistachio Mai Tai, the Blood Money, and the Fin & Tonic. Our goal is to utilize the freshest ingredients in our boat drinks to complement our fresh fish dishes and allow our guests to enjoy Trophy Fish – their home away from home. Trophy Fish was honored to be named “Best Cocktail List” in 2019 by the Tampa Bay Times.
Do you have a favorite cocktail?
Our team favorites are the pistachio mai tai and Aloe-ha!
What are some of your personal favorite menu items?
Our smoked fish spread is amazing! Best in Florida! Also, the oysters and grouper sandwich are to die for.
Are there any Happy Hour specials or VIP/rewards programs people should know about?
We are kicking off our first-ever Happy Hour for the summer, yet it’s called Nauti-Hour! The hours are different at each location, with our Tampa location doing Nauti-Hour between 4-6pm and our St. Pete location doing 5-7pm. Nauti-Hour comes with great food specials like $1 raw oysters with a minimum of 12 per order, $5 chicken tacos, and $6 shrimp tacos.
Our drink specials include $10 Fin and Tonics, $10 Salty Dawgs, and a $5 glass of bubbles (Brut or Rose).
What helps Trophy Fish stand out?
Trophy Fish stands out because of our menu boasting fresh and local. We serve only the freshest catch from local waters. Seafood is our passion, freshness is our mission, quality is our commitment, and patio time is our philosophy.
What would you recommend to someone for their first Trophy Fish visit?
Every first-time guest has to try the fish spread, hush puppies, and oysters if they are oyster lovers. Then either our fresh catch plate with the day boat fresh catch of the day or the shrimp burger – it’s a very unique burger with smoked shrimp and perfect with a side of our yuca fries.
How has Fintech helped your business?
We use Fintech for most of our distributors. The most helpful thing for us is our monthly summary and breakdowns – they help us see our highest-volume alcohol products, where to spend, and where to hold off, especially with prices increasing. It’s user-friendly and we love that we have the capability to pull invoices on the backend with the cloud-based feature.
We thank Jessica Campbell for the chance to speak about the latest Trophy Fish location in Tampa Bay. Their commitment to fresh, quality ingredients and inspired cocktail creations perfectly capture the Florida atmosphere. Be sure to stop in and see for yourself!
You can learn more about Trophy Fish on their website.