Upstart Fish City Grill hooks big-chain vet as new president

Dave Orenstein is joining the 19-unit venture after serving as CEO of Lone Star, among other casual players.

Dave Orenstein, a former head of Lone Star Steak House and On The Border, has joined the 19-unit Fish City Grill and Half Shells casual-dining group as president and COO.

Orenstein was most recently the president of Snappy Salads, a tossed-to-order fast-casual salad concept based in Dallas, where Fish City/Half Shells is also based. The twin seafood concepts strive to function as neighborhood joints with a focus on fresh seafood dishes prepared by chefs, often featuring local specialties. In addition to Texas, the company has restaurants in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Before leading Snappy Salads, Orenstein served as CEO of Lone Star Steakhouse, president of On The Border while the Tex-Mex concept was owned by Brinker International, and regional director of operations for Chili’s, Brinker’s main concept. In his 24 years in the business, Orenstein also operated his own restaurant, in Atlanta.

“We are excited to bring on a leader with such great experience and great integrity,” said BillBayne, CEO, co-founder and self-appointed chief seafood officer of Fish City/Half Shells. “Dave’s strength at growing concepts and his understanding of how critical it is to promote and nurture the culture of the company makes him a great fit for us as we grow.”

“I'm thrilled to be joining such a great organization with incredible food and passionate fans and team members,” said Orenstein. “The people-first culture is like no other.”

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