In today’s world there is a perception that “NEW” and “FAST” and “MORE” is important to restaurant customers such as yourself. For the most part, established businesses (especially those that are locally owned and operated with no corporate connections) suffer from this misconception. To be successful established restaurants must do what is necessary to work diligently to ensure that they are current with industry trends and your needs. To that end, it is important that they continue to “reinvent” themselves over time. That is not to say that they must stray from what they do best, but rather, extend the restaurant’s strengths.
Sweeney’s Seafood Bar & Grill, located in the heart of historic Centerville, Ohio, is such a business. Established over 22 years ago, Sweeney’s has undertaken a major transformation over the past three years. Not just to make it better, but to make it “BEST.” While the traditional menu items that have made Sweeney’s successful remain, the centerpiece of its products and services has dramatically changed. This has been recognized over the past years by the restaurant winning numerous awards, including Best Seafood by Dine Out Dayton in 2013, Best Catch by Dayton.com/Dayton Magazine in 2014 and 2015 as well as Best Chef (Executive Chef Michael Kruse) in 2015. But, most importantly, it has been the reception and continued patronage of you, our customers, that has been the most gratifying element.
It is our commitment to serving the freshest fish, meats and produce that has been the heart of our transformation. The new phases “from farm to table” or “made from scratch” often used today are at the core of the transformation. With the introduction of daily fresh fish and seafood specials (such as Wild Alaskan Halibut, Wahoo, Swordfish, Soft Shell Crab, Canadian Walleye, Pacific Cobia and many more) hand-cut and prepared from sustainable sources along with all fresh (never frozen) Beef, Pork and Chicken and a wide variety of Cajun and Creole-influenced dishes, the restaurant has focused on providing the highest quality meals, with country club service. The phases “from rivers, lakes and oceans to table” and “made from scratch” clearly describe our menus. Virtually all soups, sauces, dressings and deserts are house-made from scratch.
A new addition to Sweeney’s Seafood Bar & Grill’s menu is the introduction of a Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter Seasonal Menus to accompany our regular, expansive one that features fresh seafood and fish as well as chicken, chops, steaks, pastas, salads and sandwiches. Diners also have an option to enjoy Seasonal Sangrias along with other enticing options. Additionally, Sweeney’s Seafood Bar & Grill will continue Executive Chef Michael’s Daily Specials that capitalize on his ability to obtain very seasonally-fresh ingredients to ensure maximum taste and quality. Also available nightly are the ever-popular House-Made Desserts such as the decadent Peanut Butter/Chocolate Pie, authentic Key Lime Pie and unique Cheese Cake variations. And, for those so inclined, there is an exclusive Bourbon and Scotch menu featuring many hard-to-find and popular selections. Selections include Angel’s Envy Cask Strength, Four Roses Elliot’s Select and many from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Additionally 12 rotating microbrews are on tap nightly (and paired with the specials) as is the ever expanding wine and spirits menu.
We do understand that the following might sound like “marketing” messages, but we want you to understand how passionate we are about the restaurant and the food and service that we provide. While the Sweeney’s original traditions remain, the restaurant has been reinvented and is evolving. Fish and Seafood was, and is, our heritage and we will never forget that. But, we are not only dedicated to preparing and offering a wide variety of fresh and sustainable fish and seafood, but grilled items, specialty dishes with innovative sauces and sides, soups, salads and desserts as well.
“Have It your Way” is not just a catch-phrase, but is the heart of our overall restaurant’s philosophy – you are encouraged to “customize” the manner in which fish, seafood, meats and side dishes are prepared.
There are many logistical and other challenges for Sweeney’s Seafood Bar & Grill in obtaining and preparing fresh, sustainable fish and seafood in a mid-west location. Here is how Executive Chef Michael Kruse and General Manager Lisa Long will continue to meet or exceeded these challenges:
We pledge to:
- Obtain the freshest, most sustainable fish and seafood for your menu – meaning seafood that is mostly caught wild or farmed in ways that consider the long-term viability of harvested species and the well-being of our oceans, lakes and rivers.
- Find high quality fish and seafood that is seasonal – like Alaskan Halibut; Chilean Sea Bass; Canadian Walleye; Atlantic Swordfish and Shark; Pacific Cobia and Corvina; Florida Softshell Crab; Atlantic Grouper, Red Snapper and Wild Salmon.
- Pay close attention to all the factors influencing the availability of fresh, sustainable fish and seafood – availability, regulations, transportation, weather, cost and impact from political decisions.
- Continue to receive fresh seafood almost every day of the business week from all over the world. For example, our salmon comes fresh from Scotland or the Faroe Islands. Chesapeake Bay Oysters are always fresh (voted in the Top 5 of Must Have Foods in Dayton) as are the Little Neck Clams from the same region. Our scallops are brought in fresh from Massachusetts. Our trout comes to us fresh from Idaho cold water rivers and streams. Our Wahoo is obtained from Hawaii or the Caribbean. All our daily specials are fresh and come from the North and South Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans and Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Canadian Waters, waters around many foreign ports and fresh water rivers, lakes and streams.
- Work with a select group of reliable and expert purveyors to deliver our fresh, sustainable fish and seafood. We rely on local companies whenever possible (e.g., Foremost from Dayton and Michael’s from Columbus) and a network of other local, state, regional and U.S. food purveyors, as well as those in other countries. Most of our seafood is flown in to either Dayton or Columbus and delivered to us by our purveyors. We will use whatever credible purveyor can deliver the freshest fish and seafood possible. Of course, price is important so we can prepare fish and seafood at a reasonable price for you – our diners.
- Use only fresh, sustainable fish and seafood and meats for our Daily Specials and Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter menus – thus the Daily Specials change multiple times weekly and are seasonal in nature.
- Continue our dialog with chefs all over the world – on recipes, sources of fish and seafood and the economic and political climates impacting availability.
In addition, we pledge to:
- Encourage you to “Have It Your Way” from our menu or specials – how it is prepared, accompaniments, seasoning, etc. We can prepare almost all of your menu choices as vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and more.
- Only offer fresh (never frozen) entrée meats – steaks, pork chops and chicken. Whenever you see these items as ingredients in other menu items (Pastas, Starters, Kid’s Meals, Salads, etc.) you can be sure that they are fresh.
- Offer only house-made deserts (except ice cream).
- Prepare all sauces in-house.
- Prepare the vast majority of salad dressings in-house.
- Prepare all soups (our Famous Clam Chowder and Lobster Bisque plus one daily special) in-house.
- Prepare all side dishes in-house, most utilizing Sweeney’s own proprietary recipes.
- Provide you with a low-key, friendly and relaxed country club type environment – where you are never rushed.
- Offer our full menu (except liquor) for Take Out.