John and Jill Sabochick moved to Jersey City in 2015 and noticed that there was something lacking: “We wanted fresh fish but couldn’t really find what we were looking for,” says John. It sparked the idea of opening a fish market, “but first we wanted to see if other people wanted this, too.”
The power duo teamed up with partner Kevin Pipchick and decided to test the idea by working the 2015 season at the Jersey City Farmers’ Markets and discovered that indeed, there was a Jersey City fish need. After their sales success last market season, John, Jill, and Kevin opened Jersey City Fish Stand, located at 508 Jersey Avenue, this past December.
The brick-and-mortar Jersey City Fish Stand shop is the go-to for all of your pesce desires (supply varies depending on season and demand), six days a week at market prices. Walking into the store, you are greeted with a bright, clean and cheerful ambiance; decor includes a wall mural by local artist Blair Urban and a display of fish-hook themed merchandise.
The fish that the Sabochicks stock comes from all over the world, and they work with small vendors and big distributors in Hunt’s Point. “We bring in daily deliveries of fresh fish and then go off recommendations of what’s wild, what’s fishing and what’s coming in season—so we always have a lot of variety and our menu rotates every day,” says Jill. “That is our model,” adds John. All products are sold or repurposed into prepared foods within 48 hours.
Since they do run out of varieties or the quality/ season deems the product not worth buying to sell, “We try to have enough items so we have the type of thing you’re looking for,” says John. “You may want a white fish or a richer-flavored fish or a whole fish, so we offer alternatives for whatever you want to cook.”
Additionally, Jersey City Fish Stand offers advice on how to care for and cook your fish, and they sell spice blends and meal starters in partnership with Bread & Spoon. “We don’t just provide the ingredients, but walk you through how to put a meal together,” says Jill.
It’s a pretty brilliant concept—at least I think so living in the hustle and bustle that is Jersey City—for those of of us non-chefs crave simplicity but want to eat well. And, as John points out, “Some people get intimidated by new and different types of fish.”
Even better, Jersey City Fish Stand sells delectable treats from Jersey City Sweets that you can enjoy after dinner, taking the leg-work out of having something for the sugar-toothed loved ones around the table.
Click below to continue reading what’s even cooler about Jersey City Fish Stand…
John, Jill, and Kevin will be back at the Farmers’ Markets this year, at fitness food fairs in the summer, and they’re even launching a healthy eating club, where customers can order online and the Jersey City Fish Stand will set aside portions and ingredients for you to pick up at your convenience.
The Jersey City Fish Stand’s level of dedication to the customer goes beyond providing high-quality fresh seafood to the community. “One way we want to connect with the residents in Jersey City is to give them a lot of information about the fish,” says John. This includes details of how it was caught, where it is from, and its sustainability status. They gather research from various organizations and do their own independent research as well. On another front, they encourage consumer feedback on social media: Instagram a photo of how you prepared what you bought from the Fish Stand and they will post it to their website.
This level of back-and-forth stems from their backgrounds and their current ground: John and Jill were both in the tech/start-up world in Manhattan before moving to Jersey City for more space and “it has a huge sense of community,” says Jill. “I feel like that’s just become more and more apparent,” says John. “You can find upstart communities in certain cities, but it’s really hard. So Jersey City is the best of both worlds.” They really want to integrate their expertise, passion and business into a social interchange with the city.
“We were so happy to find a place where we feel comfortable in and it feels like it’s ours,” Jill says in praise of Jersey City. “And there’s always something to do. Every weekend there is something to check out, some outdoor event to walk through, something new. That is really exciting and just perfect for us.”
A flood of people enter at one point of the interview to place their orders. The first asks for two portions of black cod; the next asks for one portion of black cod. “It’s the new hot commodity,” says John.
What should you buy this month, Jersey City? Scallops have been doing “surprisingly” well at Jersey City Fish Stand (no surprise to me, as it’s hard to find a good scallop around here), and they are locally harvested. J&J may stock sea bass this week, red snapper the next. On the day of my visit, they had butterfish. And monkfish is coming around, I heard, for those of you who like to ride the trend wave.
Visit their website www.jcfishstand.com for daily menus and also to find a farmers’ market by you!