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New seafood restaurant is family affair
Gainesville’s newest seafood restaurant Silver Bay is open on Browns Bridge Road in the former location of Ryan’s.

Gus Sialmas said his family has been in the restaurant business a long time. From the 1950s and ’60s in Greece to the ’90s in South Carolina and now to a new opening in Gainesville.\

Silver Bay Seafood opened April 2 at 2415 Browns Bridge Road, the former Ryan’s location. The eatery offers a wide variety of seafood, steak, chicken and pasta.

“I traveled by Gainesville about three, four years ago,” Sialmas said. “And me and my wife we dropped by here, and we fell in love with this town here, so here we are today.”

He said when he heard from a real estate agent that the old Ryan’s location was available, he knew it would be the perfect place. Other restaurants in the family-owned chain include four in South Carolina: Simpsonville, Greenville, Easley and the first in Clinton, opened in 1996.

Kathi Evert is a manager and partner for the Gainesville location, and though she’s not related to Sialmas, she described Silver Bay not as a company but as family.

“I guess I’ve just been adopted into the family through a lot of sweat and a lot of hard work,” Evert said.

She was hired as a server for the Simpsonville location a little less than two years ago. She had some experience in the hospitality business but wasn’t planning to be anything more than a server working a few hours, she said. She was quickly promoted to head server and then manager.

When Sialmas asked her in August to manage the new Gainesville location, she picked up and moved to get the restaurant off the ground.

“(It was) a lot of 16 hour days at the beginning, but it pays off,” she said, laughing.

Her hope now is to create a new family among her co-workers here.

“I love being around people,” she said. “I love meeting different people. I love creating a family here with the staff.”

She hopes the family experience extends to the customers as well.

“We want them to have a unique experience here, feel like part of the family,” she said. Customer service, fresh quality food and cleanliness are top priorities for the business.

Evert said openings in South Carolina always brought a big crowd, and without the name recognition things went a little slower in Gainesville, but word is getting around now.

“We want to be involved in the community. We want to give back to the community, the church groups, things like that,” she said. “So it’s just a matter of getting to know people in the area.”

Sialmas said he plans to expand in Northeast Georgia, and is looking at properties in a few towns, though he has nothing definite yet.