LeGrande Serras and his daughter, Aliki Serras, pose in the bar area of Reel Seafood Co. as Aliki takes over the restaurant her father has owned and operated for the last 30 years.
The renovation won’t be the only major change. A new master chef, Dustin Aipperspach, has been chosen to spice things up. Aipperspach is a former Colorado restaurant owner who served apprenticeships under Master Sushi Chef Atsushi “Ted” Minami and French-certified Master Chef Andre LeDoux.
“He was introduced to us through a friend of a friend in the industry, and we started discussions with him in early December. Through a series of tastings and multiple discussions, he proved he was going to be able to bring us to that next level, which is very exciting. I think everyone should wait with baited breath for his menu because it’s truly remarkable,” said Aliki.
While there are many changes taking place at the restaurant, some things will remain the same because there is a reason Reel Seafood Co. has passed the test of time that causes so many other restaurants to fail in their first year or even their first 10. LeGrande said he has shown Aliki the importance of quality leadership, and one of the key ingredients to quality customer service is a happy, well-trained, loyal staff. Not many restaurants have had members of the staff stick around for 15 or 20 years like they have at Reel Seafood.
“It’s really important in what my father has displayed to me is the necessity to never ask somebody to do something you wouldn’t do or haven’t done or aren’t willing to do side by side,” said Aliki.
Through his various ventures in the restaurant business and over the course of his life, the biggest thing he LeGrande said he’ll miss is the staff.
“Fifteen of our people have been here over 25 years, another 10 or so have been here over 15 years. We have a tremendous amount of loyalty here,” said LeGrande. “It’s the influence you don’t realize you have. When someone comes back years later in a suit and tie and says, ‘Mr. Serras, I want to thank you for the opportunity I had here.’ Now he’s a big-time lawyer, and that is the kind of thing I’ll probably miss the most, having that positive influence on other people. “