Durham Rockfish restaurant closes

Jan. 07, 2013 @ 09:21 PM

A spokeswoman for the parent company of Rockfish Seafood Grill said the restaurant in Durham at The Streets at Southpoint closed Monday since it was the only location for the company outside of Texas.
“The lease was up, so we exercised the option to close at that point,” said Virginia Pivonka, director of marketing for Rockfish Seafood Grill Inc. The private company, which is based outside of Dallas, has 13 other restaurants in Texas.
Pivonka said the Durham location opened in October of 2003 at a time when the publicly traded multinational company Brinker International Restaurants, which owns Magganio’s Little Italy and Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants, had a stake in the company.
Brinker International had 43 percent stake in the company following acquisitions interests in 2001 and in 2002, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. It sold its interest in 2006.
“They, for some reason … chose Durham as the place out east that they thought they would try a store. We didn’t do any other ones there,” Pivonka said. “It was more of a case of logistics, and just the fact that we are Texas-based and Brinker hasn’t been involved with the company for some years,” she added.
Michael Hayek, the restaurant’s general manager, said the restaurant closed for business on Monday.
“It was doing fine, we had a nice space here,” Hayek said, adding that the restaurant was involved in the community, hosting fundraisers for local nonprofits.
It had hosted events such as the Cask Ales for Tails event in October in conjunction with local beer brewers. That event was a fundraiser for Second Chance Pet Adoptions in Chapel Hill.
“This lease came up, Rockfish chose not to renew and focus its efforts in Texas,” Hayek said.
Recently, another seafood restaurant, Bonefish Grill, opened off N.C. 751 in Durham at the Westpoint at 751 development near Southpoint. Pivonka said that restaurant’s opening wasn’t connected to the decision to close.