Fishbowls, food keeps High Tide on the rise
Published: Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 16:07
Though it may seem unwise to be located right next to the nationwide seafood chain, Joe's Crab Shack, manager Frank Taromina says the corporate brand is no competition to his 16-year old restaurant, High Tide Harry's.
"We're the local seafood guy, and they're a chain. There's no competition," Taromina said. "If you look at our parking lot at night and then look at theirs, ours is always more filled."
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The key to such success, that a private business might surpass a neighboring national franchise, could be attributed to several things. For one, Harry's offers beer and margaritas served in 32-ounce fish bowls, with daily happy hour specials that extend all day from Sunday to Tuesday. Perhaps the menu, daunting its onlookers with "All You Can Eat" and "Daily Specials," deserves the credit for Harry's long-standing eminence. However, founder and owner, Mike Heretick, attributes the success to their "priced to portion" deals.
"I often have people say to me, ‘How can you serve this much food for only this much,'" Heretick said. "We're even cheaper than the market at times. It's good food for a good price. And it's a fun atmosphere."
Upon walking into High Tide Harry's, customers are greeted by waiters sporting the restaurant's logo t-shirts, which are available for purchase should a souvenir seem appealing after dinner. There is hardly a blank space of décor in the entire restaurant. Everything takes on a nautical, fishy appearance. Sailor ropes and crab nets hang from high-beamed ceilings, as posts featuring directional beach-signs lead the way towards seating tables and booths.
Heretick, who started in the restaurant industry when he was nine years old while helping his mother in a deli, always wanted to own his own place. The Virginia native worked and traveled with Hooters, opening franchises across the nation, for 10 years before finally opening High Tide Harry's.
"Why did I start it? Because I don't have better sense!" Heretick said. "I've always been a seafood fanatic, but we also offer other things for the non-seafood eater as well. Just because we specialize in seafood doesn't mean our ribs, wings and chicken aren't good, because they are. Everything here is good."
"People should come here because we have good prices for high quality food," said Shannan Karuga, a recent college graudate and 4-month employee of High Tide Harry's. "And college kids love it because we have great drink specials and a fun environment."
When asked what he wants people take from their experience at Harry's, Heretick said he hopes others will tell people about it. Considering it has been 10 months since Heretick participated in any kind of promoting, it's safe to say his hopes are fulfilled.
"We do little advertising, it's all word getting around. And that's how we want it: simply drawing people in by word of mouth," Heretick said.
For more information and for menu listings, visit hightideharrys.com.