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One of the region's most successful restaurant groups recently opened a new restaurant in Ocean View. Hannah Carroll

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One of the region's most successful restaurant groups started with a vision, a 90-seat restaurant and a simple business plan.

Brothers Eric and Norman Sugrue opened Big Fish Grill in 1997 and began creating an unprecedented legacy. The duo now operates more than a dozen concepts under the name, including Salt Air in Rehoboth Beach, the Rehoboth Beach Crab House, Bella Coast Italian Kitchen in Wilmington and Big Fish Grill in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.

The company's newest addition, Big Fish Grill in Ocean View, recently opened on Cedar Neck Road.

The brothers wanted to expand the brand south, potentially into Maryland, but said the Ocean View location was "too ideal to pass up."

For years, it was home to the ever-popular Magnolia's Seafood Bar & Grill. The building's open floor plan and spacious second floor space — ideal for hosting large parties and events for 150 people — was a critical selling point.

Much like their other eateries, Big Fish Grill in Ocean View aims to become a premier spot for casual dining within the community, while embracing its own personality.

READ MORE: Young people fuel rise of fast-casual dining in Salisbury

"Each concept is slightly different," said Eric Sugrue, who credits two decades of success to innovation and quality ingredients. "When you walk into the restaurants, you know they're Big Fish. But each one has its own unique charm."

Fitting the bill, the new restaurant exudes a rustic, yet nautical feel with handmade decor and beautiful wood pieces.

Each menu is also slightly different, he added. The handcrafted menu features a blend of original recipes, must have favorites, fresh raw bar items and affordable prices. So far, popular items in Ocean View include the cast iron calamari, Maine lobster and crab man-n-cheese, fresh Scottish Salmon and the fried chicken club.

Matt Burns, of Bethany Beach, appreciates the subtle changes within the restaurant group. A fan of the company for years, Burns was thrilled to see a location open near his neck of the woods.

"I have never had a bad meal, at any of the restaurants, they are all tastefully decorated and the people are just great," he said. "You can tell they really care about making their guests' experience enjoyable."

Throughout the years, the restaurant group has earned numerous awards, many from Delaware Today magazine, which Sugrue said would not have been possible without his dedicated support team.

"They are the foundation of our success," he said.

READ MORE: Ocean View's Kool Beans Bistro to close

To spearhead the Ocean View location, Sugrue hired Kate Lively, an enthusiastic Kensington, Maryland native who essentially learned to walk in restaurants.

"My father has had a hand in a restaurant group in Maryland for years, and the industry is home to me," she said. "I grew up in restaurants, and fell in love with every aspect of them."

When Lively went to school for culinary arts, she became even more infatuated with the food scene. After years of expanding her portfolio, she moved to Bethany Beach— an area she was fond of after a lifetime of family vacations to Coastal Delaware — in search of a fresh start.

"I was tired of the city and needed some peace in my life," she said.

Lively knew she wanted to work for Big Fish and waited patiently for the right opportunity. She was hired as Ocean View's general manager six months ago, and has learned more than she ever thought was possible.

"This company impresses me every single day and I am proud to be part of the family," she said. "As we continue to get our feet wet, I further believe this restaurant will do great things for the community by providing a beautiful space for people to gather, enjoy and nourish themselves with wonderful food and drinks."

The new Big Fish Grill is located at 30415 Cedar Neck Road, just a few minutes north of Rt. 26/Atlantic Avenue in Ocean View. It’s a big and roomy spot with lots of parking. The restaurant is open at 4 p.m. every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Call 302-829-8163 to verify hours, make reservations or book a party.

On Twitter @hcarroll_1 

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