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Where Y’Eat: A New Seafood Market for a Different Catch

Porgy's Seafood Market in New Orleans
Ian McNulty
Porgy's Seafood Market in New Orleans

 I left Porgy’s Seafood Market after a lunch in my belly of gleaming raw crudo straight from the Gulf and a muffuletta made from yellowfin tuna conserva. In hand I had two bundles of raw fish and a clutch of oysters in the shell from different local waters to prepare at home myself.

I also left with excitement and anticipation for what I would find here next.

There are many fish in the Gulf, and Porgy’s is a place that wants you to get access to more of them.

Newly opened in Mid-City, Porgy’s is a combination market and restaurant, and it’s shaping up as a playground for local seafood lovers. It’s a place to find fish right from the dock, to get some fish stock or crab fat for your recipe or for a quick lunch.

There’s also a mission behind it all, and it’s out to answer a need people ask me about all the time.

We live in an area that’s proud of its seafood but that has become chronically short on places to actually find the best for meals at home. Porgy’s is a small, hopeful outpost trying to change that.

There’s an aspect of the old-time fishmonger, serving essentially as a butcher shop for seafood, with whole fish and fillets and steaks cut to spec.

It is also a casual restaurant, like a seafood deli. You can get a bowl of gumbo or a po-boy, or any fish in the case cooked to order.

What’s really different is the idea of creating a dedicated space in the supply chain for fish that don’t always have a commercial market niche.

Advocates for healthy fisheries point to a disconnect between the vast selection at hand in the Gulf, and what customers actually see at restaurants and in retail markets. Creating a market place for it means fishers can sell more of their catch, supporting heritage businesses that have been up against hard times.

The beauty of Porgy’s is the way it simultaneously brings back an old way of doing things, the simple notion of having direct access to local fish and over-the-counter expertise, and also brings it into the modern. That's quite a hook and I’m here for the next catch.

Ian covers food culture and dining in New Orleans through his weekly commentary series Where Y’Eat.