Fresh Off the Boat, a popular Orange Beach restaurant, abruptly closed Sept. 17, laying off the staff of approximately 19. Jerr McCutchen and David Buster opened Fresh Off the Boat in 2020 at the …
Fresh Off the Boat, a popular Orange Beach restaurant, abruptly closed Sept. 17, laying off the staff of approximately 19.
Jerr McCutchen and David Buster opened Fresh Off the Boat in 2020 at the SanRoc Cay development on Perdido Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach. The restaurant offered fresh seafood and hand-cut steaks in a casual, comfortable but upscale environment with views of the marina and surrounding water.
The restaurant's Facebook review page is full of rave reviews from diners and became a staple recommendation to tourists on social media pages and by word of mouth.
Gulf Coast Media made several attempts to contact the owners, but emails, phone calls and text messages have gone unanswered.
The closure was confirmed by an employee who requested to stay anonymous and said notice was sent to all employees through the scheduling app the restaurant uses.
The source told Gulf Coast Media that some of the staff thought the business might close due to mismanagement but that the closure came as a shock to most. In total, the source said the restaurant had approximately 19 employees, 10 in the back of the house and nine in the front of the house, who are now unemployed.
The source said the worst part is the staff has not received paychecks. The employees were paid biweekly and have not received a paycheck for the last month of work.
"It was a phenomenal place to have worked at, phenomenal food, phenomenal everything," the source said. "I attribute the closure to slow business, lack of management and lack of ownership accountability. Just a lack of everything."
The source stressed several times throughout the phone call that David Buster was not at fault for the closure of the restaurant.
"It's not Buster's fault. It really isn't," the source said.
Fresh Off the Boat's Facebook page and Instagram accounts are still active and show the business as being open.
McCutchen and Buster are also co-owners of the SanBar at The Wharf and 8 Reale OBA a speakeasy located at The Wharf. Both businesses remain open.