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New products headed to Long John Silver’s in 2016

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Long John Silver’s will focus on its core menu this year before introducing new products in 2016.

With the recent hire of a VP of culinary innovation, Louisville-based seafood chain Long John Silver’s is looking to inject some excitement into its menu.

Peter Czizek started in the aforementioned role about four weeks ago after spending time in similar roles at Applebee’s, Dave & Buster’s and Romano’s Macaroni Grill, among others. Fun fact: Czizek helped open the Macaroni Grill store that sits across the street from Long John Silver’s headquarters off South Hurstbourne Parkway about 20 years ago.

Now Czizek’s task is to find ways to improve Long John Silver’s menu staples such as fried Alaskan pollock, hushpuppies and other sides, as well as create and test new menu items.

“There is a huge opportunity to look at seafood flavor profiles that are coming from Europe or Asia where they eat a lot more seafood,” he tells Insider Louisville. “(Americans today) are exposed to a lot more, different flavors, and so I think we have an opportunity to try that.”

Don’t expect Long John Silver’s to start serving up fish Asian-style with the head on, Czizek said — at least not anytime soon.

Introducing new products is a stepping stone process. The company may look at Cajun recipes from Louisiana and fish tacos from the West Coast, he said, “before pushing out to some of the crazier stuff out there.”

Consumers can expect to see new products introduced to Long John Silver’s menu in 2016, Czizek said. “Bigger, bolder flavors is what you can look forward to seeing.”

No word on when or what the new products might be, however. Among a list of ideas written on a white board in Czizek’s office — and disclaimer, they are only ideas right now — were items such as shrimp wontons, lobster mac & cheese bites and tater tot fish nuggets.

Until 2016, the innovation team at LJS will continue to focus on its core menu items, he said.

“They are great now, but how do we make them better?” Czizek said. “We have some inherently very healthy products, especially our core pollack product. It is sustainably fished out of the Bering Sea of Alaska, and there are no fillers.”

“We have great quality, and I think we need to talk about that more.”

Long John Silver’s is a privately owned company with more than 1,100 franchisee-owned restaurants. The owners include Rick Duffy, adviser for the advertising firm Scoppechio, and prominent Louisville attorney Ed Glasscock, among others. Last year, they tried unsuccessfully to sell the company. Starting this year, the company leaders regrouped, hired a CEO and other top executives, and are looking to reinvigorate the brand.

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