CALUMET HEIGHTS — Calumet Fisheries fans flocked to the Far South Side this weekend to stock up on smoked fish after the seafood shack reopened.
The 75-year-old eatery, 3259 E. 95th St., was shut down by the city in late October for failing a health inspection. The business was cleared to reopen Friday after passing a new health inspection, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.
In the time it was closed to customers, Calumet Fisheries staff cleaned, patched up walls and doors, and hired a contractor to fix the building’s electrical system and wiring, staffers said.
Ivan Huerta, an assistant manager at the shop, said Calumet Fisheries staff is grateful to its supporters, many of whom expressed excitement when news of the reopening was posted to the business’s Facebook page Friday.
“It really says something about your food and your employees when customers are so excited to come back after what you went through,” one commenter said.
Another said: “Glad you’re back, [number one] in Chicago.”
The loyalty and support from customers drove Calumet Fisheries staff to address the issues and reopen quickly, though the nearly 100-year-old building did require a fair amount of work, Huerta said.
“That’s why we kind of tried to do everything as fast as possible, because we know we have a lot of people, they grew up coming here,” Huerta said. “It feels good knowing that a lot of people [like Calumet Fisheries] — it’s like an icon.”
Anisse Louden, a Calumet Fisheries employee, said the restaurant has had new and returning customers since it reopened on Saturday.
“We still have new customers coming out, like a lot of the customers yesterday, they were pretty much new,” Louden said. “They were asking for recommendations, what should they get, what shouldn’t they get?”
Trina Nicollette, a self-proclaimed foodie from the Bridgeport-Chinatown area, heard about Calumet Fisheries on Instagram and decided to visit with her boyfriend for the first time Saturday, she said.
“I think it’s cool because I feel like it has a history,” she said. “So I feel like supporting businesses in Chicago [like Calumet Fisheries] is a good way to support the community.”
Returning customer Sherman Robinson, who hadn’t known about the restaurant’s closure, also came Saturday. Robinson regularly visits Calumet Fisheries from the western suburbs and said multiple things keep him coming back.
“I’ve been eating here for a long time and the quality, the service — the people are real cool. Real nice and down-to-earth. [It’s] a little on the pricey side [but] I pay for quality, so I don’t mind coming and I don’t mind paying.”
Huerta said he appreciates the support from customers, and hopes Calumet Fisheries will be there for them for years to come.
“At the end of the day, we’re here for each other,” he said.
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