July 21, 2018

Atlantic Seafood Market, Old Saybrook’s new landmark fish store

Atlantic Seafood, 4100 Boston Road, Old Saybrook

Whoever heard of a seafood store having a fulltime chef on staff? Well Atlantic Seafood Market, located at 1400 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook, has one. His name is Jerry Doran, and he is not only a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, he was once the head chef of the Four Seasons restaurant in Boston.

Owner Lisa Feinman with Chef Jerry Doran

Atlantic Seafood Owner Lisa Feinman says, “Having a trained chef on staff is a huge benefit. He has a critical eye on everything we sell in the store.”

Another unique thing about the Atlantic Seafood is that Feinman does not think it pays to advertise. “I do not believe in advertising,” she says. “What’s important is when someone says that we have a good product, and then this word of mouth will slowly and effectively grow the business.”Feinman, who presently lives in Westbrook, purchased the Atlantic Seafood store as an existing business back in March 2005. Since then she has not only expanded the square footage of the store, but brought the store’s reputation to the point where for the last three years in a row, it has been recognized as the best seafood store along the shoreline by the weekly Shoreline Times newspaper. The store was also voted this year, “Business of the Year” by the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce.Currently, the staff of Atlantic Seafood consists of nine to ten persons, a number of them part time. One of the part timers serving seafood customers is Bob Chase, a licensed Connecticut attorney. Chase says that he “loves working with the product, the fish.” He says he “grew up in Newport and learned about fish from his father.” Chase praises the store as having “a very pleasant working environment.” Also, he maintains a legal practice, while not behind the fish counter.

A seafood delight!

Owner Feinman claims two principal distinctions of her store, “We have a really fresh product, and we are nuts about having no preservatives with our fish.” Another attribute that she touts, “All of our dressings are made from scratch.”

When asked what kind of fish customers prefer throughout the year, Feinman (everyone calls her “Lisa”) ticks off a four-season review. In winter she says the store’s freshly made, hot soups are popular, as is salmon, which is always a favorite. In summer she says that boiled lobsters, steamed clams, swordfish and scallops, as well as other seafood that can be cooked on the grill, are favorites. 

Spring she says “is a big seafood time of year.” In fact, in this season Atlantic Seafood hosts a six week course on cooking seafood, conducted by a number of expert chefs. Customers are welcome to take the course, and the tuition fee is nominal. Then in the fall Feinman says, “Since there is no more grilling outdoors, people are more into comfort food. The favorites are baked fish, like cod and haddock. 

As for her own experience in running a business, Feinman says that she has always been in retail. Also, she says, self confidently, “I always knew I could run a business.” 

To substantiate this, she calls attention to an article about the store, published in a July 2007 issue of the New York Times. The Times wrote about the store, “To have fish any fresher, you would have to catch it yourself.”
Speaking of the freshness of the fish sold at Atlantic Seafood, the Lisa says, “We buy off the boats, and we know the boats we buy from. We also have drivers that pick up our fish in Rhode Island and New Bedford, Massachusetts, and everything is shipped overnight.” 

Then, she repeats what could well be the store’s mantra, “We do not ever put our fish in preservatives.”

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