Rob’s in Port Orchard puts healthy spin on fish and chips

Rob Seever pulls a piece of cod out of the fryer, as his wife Christina looks on.  - Charlie Bermant
Rob Seever pulls a piece of cod out of the fryer, as his wife Christina looks on.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant

Port Orchard is a meat-and-potatoes kind of town, but given the choice it may well fall for fish and chips — this according to a veteran restaurant owner who opened a specialty restaurant on Mile Hill Drive last week.

“I love food and I love people,” said Rob Seever, owner of the newly opened Rob’s Fish and Chips. “I want to give people good food and good service. I was born to do this.”

Seever, 72, has been in the restaurant business all his life, beginning as a teenager in Bremerton. Many locals will remember him as the operator of the Bay Street Diner, which once occupied the current Los Cabos location.

Seever has alternated his life between serving food and serving as a missionary. His most recent restaurant was located in Bremerton, also serving fish and chips.

Meanwhile, he has spent the past few years in the Philippines on a mission.

“We came back three months ago and decided to open another restaurant,” he said. “The time was right, and we found this place,”

His new location was most recently the Honey in the Rock Steakhouse. Previously, it was a fish of a different color, operating as a Skippers’ franchise.

Seever is quick to point out the difference between Skippers’ fare and his own. His fish is fresh and not frozen, and the batter is a light coat rather than a crisp crust.

“In the past few years, a lot of restaurant customers are looking to eat light,” he said. “Since that time, we’ve tried to serve healthier food by using a better quality oil and changing it more often than other fast-food restaurants.”

By using a lighter oil, Seever’s customers avoid a greasy taste and a painfully filling meal.

Instead, the fish served is light and moist with not a lot of crust.

“I like to have enough breading to keep the seasoning in but not so much that the fish dries out,” he said.

While the fish here is healthier than standard fare, Seever will prepare a sautéed version for customers who want to cut calories even further.

Currently, Seever runs the operation with his wife, Christina, and does most of the cooking himself.

He plans to hire several part-timers to help around the restaurant to serve and clean, and expects much of the labor force will come from the high school.

Seever is opening his new enterprise in the face of several local restaurant closures, including the Clubhouse Grill across the street.

He nevertheless is confident of his own success, as he doesn’t plan to repeat the “bad decisions” made by other restaurants.

And he has a loyal customer base throughout the region.

Seever feels his current location will gain more customers than downtown due to his judgment along with matters that are out of his control.

“I think we will do way better out here than we would downtown,” he said. “We prayed about this, and God opened a door that led us up here. If he wanted us to be downtown, he would have opened a different door.”

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