Local restaurateur Frank Fleiger passed away on Sunday morning, sparking an outpouring of love and support from close friends around the Cayman Islands.
Mr. Fleiger, who managed the Copper Falls Steakhouse with his ex-wife Dianne Parsons, was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, on Jan. 11, 1962.
Legendz Bar & Grille owner Brad Alexander said he hired Mr. Fleiger – whose nickname is “Frankie Fingers” – in 1996 to manage the place.
“He was diligent, he was detailed to the nth degree,” said Mr. Alexander, adding, “There was no gray with Frank. Yes meant yes, no meant no. It made him easy to be around.”
Mr. Fleiger worked at Legendz until Hurricane Ivan hit the territory in 2004, causing Mr. Alexander to close the bar for more than a year. That event spurred Mr. Fleiger to pursue his dream of starting his own establishment, opening Copper Falls on April 4, 2005.
“The longer he was here, the more he believed he could do what he ended up doing. So I’m not surprised it became a success,” Mr. Alexander said.
Messrs. Alexander and Fleiger would remain close, golfing with a group of friends on a weekly basis. The two took a golf trip to Miami just last month, said Mr. Alexander.
Another former co-worker and friend of Mr. Fleiger, Tony Allenbrand, shared one of his favorite memories of the man.
Mr. Fleiger was the epitome of professionalism, Mr. Allenbrand said, but on the last day a restaurant was open in Canada in the early 1990s, he had to deal with a customer who was likely fishing for a free meal.
After eating most of her dish, the customer complained that it was not cooked to her liking. Mr. Fleiger would usually give his customers a free meal if they complained, but this time he wryly replied, “Then put some pepper on it,” Mr. Allenbrand said.
When Copper Falls announced Mr. Fleiger’s death on its Facebook page on Sunday night, multiple people posted comments in remembrance of the restaurant’s owner.
“We were just there last night and he came to our table to speak to us a few times,” wrote Paula Plaster Wood. “Such a nice gentleman. This saddens us greatly! Prayers for you all during this difficult time.”
“Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear this. My sincere condolences,” added Ian Pascall. “Still my favorite place on Earth and Frank had oh so much to do with that.”
Decker’s Grille & Lounge owner Markus Mueri credited Mr. Fleiger for creating the “best steakhouse on the island.… He was adamant about how to do things; he was a very fair man,” Mr. Mueri said. “He was a very gentle soul.”
Mr. Fleiger is survived by his two sisters, a brother and his parents, according to Mr. Alexander.