It all started when…
Welcome to Charlie’s Fish House Restaurant and Seafood Market, located on the waters edge of Crystal River, Florida, where an over a half-century long family tradition of providing great seafood awaits your dining pleasure!
The "Family Tradition": since Charlie and Marion Kofmehl set anchor on the banks of the pristine waters of Crystal River, Florida in 1948, we have been serving the public with the freshest seafood possible, almost as if you caught it yourself. 55 years in the making, the Charlie's tradition continues.
In 1959, Charlie Kofmehl bought this property, which included an old cracker style fishhouse, from Ed Tolle, representing the Barco family, prominent pioneers in the development of Citrus County, Florida.
Charlie, while raising a family, worked long, hard hours to ensure the success of his fish and oyster business. In 1960 he built the Oyster Bar Restaurant with thirty seats near the highway as an outlet for the fresh, quality seafood he was producing at the fish house. The Oyster Bar was an immediate success with many local patrons, as well as hungry travelers, enjoying the incomparable fresh and delicious seafood being offered.
Charlie’s wife, Marion, asked him one day “Why do you work so hard and spend so much time at the business?”. He replied “because I want my two sons to have the opportunity to work and raise their families in Crystal River as I have been able to do!”
While the older son, Phil, was serving a four year “hitch” in the Navy the younger son, Jimmy, was being “adopted” by the commercial fisherman who fished for his Dad. By their example, he learned well the art of fishing and stone crabbing. When Phil got home from the Navy he became involved in the operation of the seafood business with his brother and dad.
In the early seventies Jimmy and Phil bought Dad out. He and Mom retired to the north, Central New York state farm country and later to the Tennessee Smokey Mountains.
During the seventies and eighties, while raising their families, Jimmy and Phil continued the seafood tradition that had begun years earlier.
In 1990 the decision was made to build a larger restaurant with seating for 160 guests on the waterfront. This was accomplished by building the restaurant adjacent to the fish house seafood market and joining the two by a common façade. With the new construction the name of the business was changed to Charlie’s Fish House in honor of the man who, in 1948, happened upon Crystal River with his young family. He was so impressed by the pristine quaintness of the town and the river, envisioning the potential for living and raising his family in a paradise, that he stayed to become a part of its history.
“Charlie’s” has evolved over a fifty-five year period from a rustic structure on partially developed land to the way it is seen today. Charlie started it, Jimmy and Phil, through the years have done the major redevelopment, and now the third generation of Kofmehl’s are involved in all operations of the business with the fourth generation fast becoming an integral part of the family tradition. This "hands on approach" in all phases of the day to day business activities are still practiced today.
The one thing we have endeavored not to change is the quality of our seafood and our service. We, the staff and management with many years of combined experience in the seafood industry work very hard at this everyday to ensure your dining pleasure and also to provide you with the freshest seafood to take home.
We do very little commercial advertising because you, our customers, have proven to be our best advertisement.
Thank you, from all the “crew” at Charlie’s.