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Ever heard of a guy named Spike Africa? Me either, but soon, the name of this mid-twentieth century seafarer known by some as the “President of the Pacific Ocean,” will adorn the façade of a new restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter. Scheduled to open in January, Spike Africa’s Fresh Fish Grill & Bar will be located at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Broadway (411 Broadway, Downtown).

The eatery is a product of Seafaring Ventures, LLC, who are perhaps best known for developing the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurants. While a focus on sea fare provides a common bridge between that chain and this new venue, Spike Africa’s will embrace a different thematic based on its namesake. Executive chef Paul Rinaudo will steer the ship, sourcing fresh product from around the world, including fish, shellfish and produce from local fisherman and farms.

The menu has yet to be unveiled, but sample dishes being leaked out include an entrée of seared scallops with Italian sausage, citrus sauce and, aptly enough, Navy beans. Spike Africa’s will also offer a Port Townsend Seafood Simmer—scallops, mussels, shrimp and fish in a tomato-based broth. Simply prepared fish will also be available with seasonally changing accoutrements.

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Visually, the interior will utilize en vogue components such as reclaimed wood, exposed brick, faux worn materials in tandem with marine hardware and other oceanic touches to create a space that offers an urban and nautical hybrid motif. In addition to the main dining room, the 4,200 square foot space will offer an 18-seat bar serving beer, wine and spirits. Definitely an upgrade from the space’s previous identity as a Payless ShoeSource.

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