John & Jill Sabochick in front of Blair Urban’s mural in their Jersey City Fish Stand shop (and behind their daily dips for customers to try)
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.”
Some offerings on my weekday afternoon visit
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.
Filet selection the afternoon I visited, 3 hrs to closing. Pretty sure everything sold by then.
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.”
Spice Blends to assist your fish prep
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.