Our Beloved Neighborhood Stores—Joys and Sorrows

When Karen and Tom Trachalides took over the fish store opposite my favorite butcher Pino, on Sullivan Street, just south of Houston (ergo SoHo), April of 2003, the whole neighborhood rejoiced. The Trachalides named it Fresh Catch and for good reason—it is the only place I’ve found in New York City that has shrimp and also squid that have never been frozen. In addition to that, the fish is all impeccably prepared.We also all took an immediate liking to this lovely and attractive young couple. Karen makes terrific crab cakes, salmon cakes, and seaweed salad among other things to take out or eat at the little tables opposite the display counter. And Tom introduced me to black fish which I had never even heard of before, saying that the fisherman usually keep this fish to themselves. He was wonderfully knowledgeable about fish and always willing to share and educate. So it was a horrible shock to discover, last month, as I was running by to drop off some cake sample treats, that the store was temporarily closed due to Tom’s sudden tragic passing from a heart attack. Karen is now continuing to run the store, with the support of her sons, one of whom insists on doing the procuring at the fish market, saying that the market is not a woman-friendly world. I suspect that’s the truth and I also suspect he is being a wonderful son. We should all be eating more fish in the first place, and supporting small neighborhood stores—not just out of sentiment and the value of personal connection—but also to maintain the quality of ingredients. I also hope everyone in the neighborhood will do everything to support Fresh Fish also because Karen is an exceptional person with great integrity and deserves it. Fresh Catch: 212-777-5250