Destin restaurant founder, Charles Morgan, was nominated for a 2019 Herbie aired on The Herbies Preseason Special on ESPN for his restaurant Chuck's Fish in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A Herbie is an award given by College Gameday analyst Kirk Herbstreit.The restaurant is in the heart of Tuscaloosa, home to the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide.
DESTIN — To Charles Morgan, it’s straightforward.
The Destin resident and founder of Northwest Florida restaurant Harbor Docks, knows why his family-owned seafood and sushi eateries win awards. It’s not a particular dish.
“Fresh seafood, cooked simply,” Morgan said.
Morgan’s restaurant, Chuck’s Fish, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama — the home of University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide football team — is on College Gameday analyst Kirk Herbstreit’s 2019 list of best restaurants in the country.
“He’s a great customer of ours — at all of our restaurants, even in Destin,” Morgan said. “Every year, for the past five or six years, we’ve been on that list.”
With college football-related awards, such as Most Exciting Player, Best-Kept Secret and Best Student Sections, the Herbies will be handed out Friday night. The Herbies Preseason Special will air at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
College towns always respond well to Morgan’s restaurants, and not solely because of college students, Morgan said. University employees play a role, too.
“They’ve been great to us,” Morgan said. “Towns based on higher education — what’s wrong with that?”
General manager Alicia Boothe thinks the atmosphere is the explanation behind the restaurant's awards.
“There is a certain buzz during service in our restaurant that can’t be recreated anywhere,” Boothe said. “Our beautiful, historic building adds an ambiance that inspires fun, laughter and good times. It’s an experience, not just a meal.”
The Chuck’s Fish location in Athens, Georgia, also won an eclectic award recently.
“We won the award for the best repurposed historical building,” Morgan said. “We converted an old Greyhound bus station into a Chuck’s Fish.”
Because of his reputation for fresh fish, Morgan thinks customers visit his different restaurant locations while traveling. Destin vacationers frequently stop at his other restaurants.
Morgan is proud of the awards. It affirms what he’s been doing for 14 years — in Destin and beyond— works: Fresh seafood, cooked simply.