Richard Melman and The Fish Market Redemption

This week we start with Glenn Fahlstrom extolling the largess of a man we both worked with roughly 40 years ago, Richard Melman, founder of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. We were both with him in the fledgling years of the mid to late 70’s and it was this exposure to his energetic drive, limitless creativity and irreverent attitude to the status quo that formed both our approaches to the business of launching a restaurant.

After our brief skip down memory lane we talk about the journey that brought Glenn from those early days at Lettuce to his current restaurant in Chicago, Fahlstrom’s Fresh Fish Market a hard to describe very unique restaurant that defies any attempt to fit it into any specific category. As the name implies it is a fresh fish market with ice filled display cases …but it doesn’t stop there. It’s also a breakfast and weekend brunch joint with benedicts and a wall of cereal boxes, it’s a casual seafood house with a wide range of fresh fish entrée choices and an even wider range of fresh fish salads and sandwiches. There’s a modest retail area selling bottled sauces and conservas; those very fashionable imported ultra-high-quality seafood tins from Spain.

On the way we talk about raising money, selecting staff, developing operating systems and other launching issues. Fahlstrom’s is a very busy place, serving thousands of guests every year.