For the past few years, downtown Waxahachie has been undergoing a transformation. Buildings along Franklin Street and Rogers Street are being redeveloped for both residential and commercial uses.

One of the first new businesses to open its doors in these buildings is the Fish Grill, which had a soft opening about two weeks ago.

The Fish Grill offers residents and visitors an upscale dinning experience in a low-key atmosphere. The restaurant, located 114 S. Rogers St., offers everything from grilled Salmon to ribeyes, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday –Thursday, 11 a.m. -11 p.m. Friday – Saturday and 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday. The grill is closed Monday.

“This has been great. I was in Oak Cliff and could not afford to be in the Bishop Arts (district), so I opened up on Jefferson. Jefferson, if you don’t know in Dallas is still kind of the wild, wild, west. Even though I had decent, established clientele I could not do any lunch business or anything. It was basically just weekends and nights,” said Chris Stanford, the co-owner of the Fish Grill. “So I closed up shop there because I had another location. After two years and eight other locations of looking, we came down here and saw this place and said, ‘This is the one.’”

The Fish Grill is housed inside the building that once was home to Citizens National Bank and the Ellis County Tax and Engineering offices. Stanford said the building and the community were really two of the key selling points in relocating.

“The town is charming. This is the kind of place that I would go to on the weekends. It just never occurred to me. Oak Cliff is kind of like this in certain areas like where we live. We came down here and were surprised with all of the historic buildings. I knew that Jim Lake was doing some development down here, but I didn’t know how much was going on. It was a perfect match for us,” Stanford said. “You can’t build them like this any more. It would be impossible. The craft that they put into a building back then was amazing. It is beautiful building with all of this light that comes in. The mezzanine area with the view of the courthouse is just amazing for patrons.”

Stanford said Fish Grill customers will find a place for casual dinning that is a little upscale and they won’t be distracted by televisions or loud music. The Fish Grill prides itself on quality service and fresh food served daily. All seafood is sourced locally and comes from Atkins Seafood in Waxahachie.

“We try to make it a little bit upscale, but not snooty and upscale. We try to make it relaxed and fun. No Mozart music in the background. No stuffiness or nothing. It just needs to be fun. Great service and great food, that’s it,” Stanford said. “One thing that I am known for, and it is new for this menu here, is Snapper. All of our Snapper comes from the Texas Gulf. It is not Red Fish from the pacific. It is Texas Gulf Red Snapper.”

Stanford said Red Fish tends to be a little tougher, smaller fish and a little less flavorful, where as the Texas Gulf Red Snapper is larger and has better flavor. The Fish Grill serves the Texas Gulf Red Snapper stuffed with crab and shrimp, herbs, breadcrumbs, and pan sautéed with a Riesling wine reduction. It’s served with sautéed mixed bell peppers, celery and carrots. Another item on the menu is the Fish Grill’s stuffed pork chop. It is pan-roasted Berkshire pork chop with apple-currant chutney with a Riesling wine glaze and served with a vegetable medley.

“In Dallas, we just did seafood. Here, we are doing seafood, steaks and chops. We are doing a Berkshire chop. They marble like steak does. You see pork in a grocery store and it is lean. This is not that,” Stanford said. “This is Berkshire pork. It is marbled like a steak is and gets beautiful flavor. Ours is 10 ounces.”

People who want something a little bit simpler can come in for lunch for a Catfish plate, fish or shrimp tacos, fried shrimp or oysters.

The Fish Grill also provides patrons who don’t want a meal but just want a craft beer or a wine. The restaurant has a bar on the second floor, which includes craft beer like Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale and Bishop Berry Cider and wide selection of wines.

There is also a room on the second floor for large groups ranging from 12-16 people for things such as a business meeting or a family gathering. To make use of the room interested parties asked to call ahead. The second floor of the building is also fully handicap accessible.

The next project for the restaurant is to set up an outdoor patio on Franklin Street. The patio is set to have about six outdoor tables. A website and app are also being set up, so people can order on the go.

Stanford encourages everyone to stop by and looks forward to providing customers with a great dinning experience.

For more information about the restaurant, search for The Fish Grill on Facebook.

Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI. Contact him at andrew.branca@waxahachietx.com or 469-517-1451.