Photo by Kathy Tran.

Southern comfort

Some of Bill Bayne’s favorite memories center on the restaurant industry.

He met his wife, Lovett, when he was general manager and she was a waitress at Nate’s Seafood. Trips with his family revolved around sharing meals at eateries in Baytown, near Houston. Bayne was introduced to the business at age 5, when his best friend’s parents owned their own restaurant.

“I discovered a magical machine where you pull a lever and all sorts of soda came out,” he says. “I turned 18, and I discovered a magical machine where you pull the lever and all sorts of beer came out. I’ve been in the business ever since.”

Giving Back

In the economic downturn following 9/11, Bill Bayne and his wife, Lovett, watched restaurants around them shutter, although their establishments thrived. As a way to thank patrons for their support, Fish City Grill began donating 15 percent of its proceeds to a local charity on the first Tuesday of every month. “This was our way of putting money where our mouth is,” Bayne says. Feed Lake Highlands and Pamper Lake Highlands already have been recipients in our neighborhood. This April, proceeds go toward For the Love of the Lake.

He and Lovett, co-owners of Fish City Grill and Half Shells, are all about ambience. Customers should leave feeling better than when they arrived, Bayne says. The couple prioritizes employee morale, and they hope that positivity emanates through each of Fish City Grill’s locations.

“I always associate seafood with friends, family and vacation,” he says.

The eatery’s specialty is southern comfort seafood, like catfish, shrimp and oysters. The wall-length chalkboard features a cast of rotating specials, and the most popular find a permanent spot the menu.

“We are not a Cajun restaurant, but there are some Cajun influences, like gumbo and red beans and rice,” he says.

Did you know:

Dallas artist Nataliya Plambeck drew the octopus mural that winds across the ceiling with markers — lots of them.

The restaurant’s opening in the Lake Highlands Town Center marks its 19th location. The Baynes, longtime M Streets residents, say they admire our neighborhood’s small-town charm.

“We always thought Lake Highlands was a cool neighborhood, but we never realized how deep the community’s roots are,” he says. “People are proud to be from Lake Highlands.”

Photo by Kathy Tran.

Fish City Grill

Ambience: family-friendly diner

Price Range: $9-$20

Hours: Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m

Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m

Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m

Address: 7170 Skillman St., suite 100

Phone: 214.428.3474