Retailers find success with foodservice

Published on
September 16, 2010

Phil DiGirolamo throws clams and mussels into a huge pot while smiling and shouting to customers gathered in Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing, Calif.

A fun, casual atmosphere has been part of the market since the 66-year-old DiGirolamo opened it in 1982, as has the boisterous chef's popular cooking demonstrations. Today, he is making his famous cioppino, which consists of fresh clams, mussels, squid, white fish, scallops, prawns and Phil’s special sauce. This is the dish that beat out Bobby Flay in the Food Network’s “Throwdown With Bobby Flay”?in 2009.

Soon after DiGirolamo began his entertaining style of cooking, Phil’s Fish Market customers began asking to buy the food he was cooking to try preparing it for themselves at home. Instead, DiGirolamo opened up a restaurant, The Eatery at Phil’s Fish Market, in the same building as the market a few years ago and launched a 12-seat oyster bar last year.

“The Eatery is a family-style restaurant and is ?laid-back. You come up and order at the counter, get your utensils and choose your beverages,” says DiGirolamo of the 175-seat restaurant. The Eatery has actually become more profitable than the fish market, and the oyster bar is usually full, says DiGirolamo.

Boosting profits are the main reason DiGirolamo and other retail seafood markets across the country have expanded into the restaurant business in recent years.

To read the rest of the feature on seafood retailers expanding into foodservice, click here. Written by SeaFood Business and SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Christine Blank, the story ran in the September issue of SeaFood Business magazine.

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