For this week’s Throwback Thursday feature, we travel back exactly five years to when Rob Clark and Mike McDermid opened The Fish Counter on Main Street. I remember the build being a long, hard slog for those guys. From a customer’s perspective, the wait was well worth it. Here’s some copy from a story we published just a couple of days before they launched, plus several photos of construction…
When Scout first broke the news about The Fish Counter coming to 3825 Main St. this past June, we were pretty excited. I mean, wow…a fishmongers from Rob Clark and Mike McDermid, the two founders of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program!? What could possibly be better than a sustainability-savvy and doubt-free fish store where the staff knew the fishermen? How about a fish store that not only does all of that but also dresses up the catch and cooks it for you, too.
Yup, there’s a tidy food-service component to The Fish Counter, too. You can choose your battered fish and local Kennebec chips from a list that includes salmon, halibut, ling cod, and oysters. These can be ordered to eat in or take away. Chances are you’ll want to stick around and watch for the first little while, because the guy doing the cooking at the start is none other than Ian Johansen, who is not only the brother of Cpt. Steve Johansen of the good ship Organic Ocean (co-founder of the Spot Prawn Festival), but also a capable cook at Go Fish! on False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf, which is incidentally home to Vancouver’s best fish and chips (for now).
They’ll also be serving three soups – a New England clam chowder without wheat or dairy, a vegan option, and a seafood special soup du jour. We can also expect to see Baha-style fish tacos made with ling cod and “Salmonitos” – a cylindrical, burrito-ish wrap of salmon, slaw and chipotle mayo (nice rice or beans).
On the retail side of things, they’re offering branded/prepared meals like nicoise salad (minus the tuna – you build your own at home with the tuna you buy at the shop), fish cakes. crab cakes, mac and cheese, et cetera, plus prepared seafoods like octopus salad, poached salmon, smoked salmon, candied salmon, and so on. There’s a two-level glass display case for fresh fish, plus boxes for live crabs and lobster that will go online in a few weeks.
This was a hard, long slog for Rob and Mike. The construction was a lot more than I think they both expected (they’re five months past their first “hopefully open by” date), but in the end it looks like they’ve done a fantastic job, even with the little details like the garage window frontage and the octopus carved into the bench (hats off to Wendy Taylor for the overall design of the space). They’re opening “for certain” this Saturday.
Take a look inside those early days…