Red Fish Bleu Fish to open next month

The interior of Red Fish Bleu Fish, 5121 S. Harper Ave., which is set to open next month. (Photo by Aaron Gettinger)

Staff Writer

Red Fish Bleu Fish, the new seafood restaurant located at 5121 S. Harper Ave. in the City Hyde Park development, is aiming for a December opening, once staff hiring and training is complete and final licenses are issued.

Rest assured that Red Fish Bleu Fish will serve red snapper and bleu cheese on salads, but the rest of the menu has not been finalized. It will serve grilled and fried fish as well as a variety of shellfish, including raw oysters, flatbread pizzas and pastas. Poke, the trendy Hawaiian raw fish preparation, will be on the lunch menu. There will be beer on tap and in cans, as well as a full bar and a wine list heavy on French and Spanish vintages.

Proprietor Jovanis Bourgoub, who owns Porkchop in Harper Court and other restaurants in South Loop, said he got the idea for the restaurant soon after realizing Hyde Park lacked a seafood restaurant.

Regarding the snapper, “It’s not only American. It’s not only from New Orleans,” said Bourgoub, who immigrated from Paris and lived in Hyde Park for over a decade: “It’s also where I came from.” He is thinking of adding escargot to the menu.

Bourgoub’s new restaurant sparked controversy earlier this year under its originally planned name, 1 Fish 2 Fish, to which the owner of the Two Fish Crab Shack in Bronzeville took issue, fearing it would lead to consumer confusion and inferences that the two restaurants were the same enterprise.

Bourgoub decided to change the name. “If she succeeds, I want to be part of that. If she fails, I don’t want to be part of that,” he said, referring to Two Fish owner Yasmin Curtis, who could not be reached for comment.

Red Fish Bleu Fish has also obtained a city public place of amusement license that will allow for live entertainment. Bourgoub previously said this was for private parties.

Bourgoub said he is having some difficulty with hiring in Hyde Park; some applicants have balked once they learned of Red Fish Bleu Fish’s location.

“It’s not that the South Side has bad employees, but the ones who don’t want to go far away from where they live, that’s what we get,” he said. “It’s hard just to find good employees in Hyde Park.”

Nevertheless, Bourgoub thinks he will soon fill all 20 to 30 positions and the fill a niche in Hyde Park’s restaurant scene.

“We’re trying to implement what I believe is good to the neighborhood, and the neighborhood will tell us what they think,” he said. “We’re cooking for everyone in this place. We’re trying to bring everyone in.”