Photo by Nathan Kelly.
0613 Jesse's Restaurant
Hoover native Frank D’Amico has brought his Tampa-based restaurant concept back home.
Jesse’s Steak and Seafood captured the taste of Gulf of Mexico seafood and brought it to Hoover.
Owner Frank D’Amico was born and raised in Hoover but took off to Florida after graduating from high school to chase his passion of fishing. He opened a steak and seafood restaurant in Tampa with his younger brother, Nathan, in 1978. The establishment was named after his daughter, Jesse.
After more than 30 years in the business in Tampa, D’Amico began to make frequent visits back to Hoover to visit his mother, who had become sick.
On his visits he discovered a number of properties for sale in the Hoover market and decided to bring his restaurant to his hometown for its second location, which opened in April.
D’Amico said his restaurant has had success through the quality of seafood and meat he has always provided for his guests.
“Our prime rib alone made us a landmark in Tampa,” he said. “When you combine that with the way we treat our guests and guarantee a fresh cut steak with fresh caught seafood, we began to make a name for ourselves.”
Jesse’s has changed a lot in its 30-plus year history, he said. The restaurant originated with selling hamburgers and roast beef in a pub atmosphere.
He said the Birmingham community has fallen in love with his seafood since he opened.
“I guess it has something to do with being so far away from the Gulf, but everyone here seems to love the seafood,” he said. “All the shrimp we serve comes from the Gulf of Mexico, and since I’m such a big fan of sport fishing, I’m only going to pick the best quality of fish to serve here.”
Before Jesse’s became a household name in Tampa, D’Amico used to cut the middle man out and catch all the seafood himself. Once his restaurant’s demand grew, he couldn’t afford the steep price of gas for his boat for the amount of seafood he would bring back.
Now Jesse’s owns multiple fishing boats to provide seafood caught by fishermen D’Amico knows personally.
Jesse’s also has a full bar with happy hour every day from 4-6:30 p.m. All drinks and appetizers are half off the price for happy hour.
Even after being open for a short two months, Jesse’s has received a tremendous amount of support from the Hoover community, D’Amico said.
“Hoover took us under their wing,” he said. “I had heard they wanted us here for some time now, and they haven’t disappointed. I’m so happy to have my restaurant in my two favorite cities in the world.”