EDGEWATER — After eight years of delivering fresh and sustainable seafood throughout Chicago, Hooked On Fish has dropped anchor with a new storefront in Edgewater.
Hooked on Fish opened in late May at 1036 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., taking over the former home of Mama K’s Cafe. It is the first storefront for Hooked on Fish.
The business got its start in 2014 sourcing sustainable and environmentally friendly fish products and delivering them to pick-up spots throughout the city, owner Karen Wollins said.
Hooked on Fish has always operated out of commercial spaces in and around Rogers Park, where Wollins lives. After years of building up her business, Wollins decided to more seriously consider opening her first storefront.
The catalyst for the decision was the pandemic, with more spaces becoming available after stores went out of business. Mama K’s was among the Bryn Mawr Avenue shops to close during the pandemic, and Wollins said the location was right for her business.
“We wanted to open a storefront for a long time, but it was really hard to find a place,” Wollins said. “We really liked this place when we first saw it.”
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Hooked on Fish stocks a rotating selection of seafood plus fish products including salmon burgers and canned fish. It also sells fish cooking products and other foods including hot sauces, pasta and seasoning.
Its main product is its fresh seafood, which comes in daily and is sourced from the most ethical and sustainable providers throughout the world, Wollins said.
Hooked On Fish’s seafood selection is constantly rotating as it seeks to find the most sustainable fish providers on the market. Doing so helps cut down on a problem in the fishing industry: large amounts of waste.
“We’re never going to have a tank with a ton of fish,” Wollins said. “We do our best to make sure we’re getting it from a good company, know where it comes from and how it was caught.”
Hooked on Fish still delivers seafood to customers, but the storefront will provide room for the business to grow, Wollins said.
On top of its new retail store, Wollins said the business will be able to offer more in-house products. There are plans to add a smoker to the store’s rear outdoor area to make smoked fish. Plans are also in the works to create seafood-based stews and soups, she said.
Demonstrations and other in-person events will likely be rolled out at the store, Wollins said.
“We can do so much more,” she said.
Hooked on Fish’s mission is to act as a locally owned business that provides sustainable fish products. Such ethical fish products are increasingly common as the industry reckons with issues of over fishing, slave labor and other ethical issues.
There is a growing community of companies and fishers seeking to make the industry more environmentally friendly and ethical. Hooked On Fish is hoping to provide a local outlet for people seeking out ethically minded fish products, Wollins said.
“It’s hugely important,” Wollins said of sustainable fishing efforts. “We’re depleting the seas.”
Hooked On Fish is open 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. For its rotating fish menu, click here.
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