Though they’ve only been open two years, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. (114 Nassau Ave) has become a vital part of our neighborhood. Their front cold case is one of the few places around for sustainably-sourced fish, the back bar serves up some our most delectable dishes, and it’s all done with the kind of friendly, welcoming vibe that turns random customers into regulars. The fishmongers know off the top of their heads where all of the incredibly fresh fish is from and are more than willing to help you figure out what to buy. And over Labor Day weekend, our neighbors to the north got their own Long Island City outpost with a full fish case, fun products, and ready-to-eat items, with lobster rolls and chowdah coming soon enough.
Responsibly-raised and sustainably-sourced may sound like marketing buzzwords for people, but there are some very real issues happening with the world’s fisheries (overfishing, pollutants, low-wage labor and invasive species are just the beginning). Fishmongers like Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. are working to promote seasonal, lesser known but just as delicious, and local varieties of fish and seafood. They work with purveyors and suppliers who care about sustaining the industry while working within our changing environment. Plus, with about a third of fish being mislabeled at this point, transparency is key for customers who are concerned about contaminants.
An expansion to Long Island City, as opposed to Williamsburg or Manhattan, is more obvious than it seems at first glance. The new outpost, at 5-43 48th Avenue, is only a block or so away from Greenpoint Fish & Lobster’s processing plant. Anything they could need for the day is almost literally within reach. Second, there isn’t much in the way of competition. Long Island City is still experiencing many growing pains when it comes to simple neighborhood amenities (friends of mine who live there have a running list of “places LIC needs”) and there wasn’t a great fishmonger until now. Will, the store’s manager, says the day one response was a little overwhelming as people began stopping as soon as he opened the door. I visited twice over Labor Day weekend, and both times other customers expressed delight and joy that the store had finally opened. An interesting element to this location is they’re hoping for it to be cashless—it makes the customer experience go faster and stops the monger from having to touch dirty money.
Just like at their Nassau Ave shop, customers can find popular fish and seafood (salmon, porgy, mackerel, oysters, clams, shrimp, etc.) plus daily specials, prepared items (smoked bluefish salad, lobster potato salad, shrimp cocktail, poke, etc.), stocks, sauces, and pretty much anything you’d need for an at-home sushi dinner. In the next few weeks, their takeout window should be opening to hand off succulent lobster rolls, warming chowder, other less-fun-to-say soups, sandwiches, and salads to the masses, all perfect items for a quick picnic in Gentry Plaza State Park. Congrats, guys!!