Since early September, bayman Charlie Manwaring has been working to relocate the Southold Fish Market — a place he grew up working in and has owned since 1999 — from its longstanding spot in the Heron Suites complex in Southold across Route 25 into a trailer behind the former Hollister’s steak and seafood restaurant.
He opened up shop in that trailer about three weeks ago and said the move was a good one — and he even got through Hurricane Sandy unscathed, he said.
“We didn’t lose anything during the storm, so that was good,” Manwaring said. “But I can’t wait for scallop season to open.”
Manwaring said that only a small section of Gardiners Bay is currently open to shellfishing — the Department of Environmental Conservation has stopped shellfishing through Nov. 13 due to possible pollutants in the water after Hurricane Sandy. The Peconic Bay scallop season would have started this past Monday.
“We got very few scallops from what is currently open, but we hope there is more out there,” he said. “We’re just waiting to see what happens.”
Other than that, the trailer is a slightly smaller space than their previous shop and doesn’t allow for much cooking for take-out meals aside from frozen soups, Manwaring said. He had to set up in the temporary building while the permitting process happens with the Southold Town to reopen the long vacant Hollister’s, which Manwaring plans to extensively renovate.
“We want a fish market but we also would like a sit-down restaurant in there,” he said. “It’s great that the town is working with us on this — the place sat empty and was such an eyesore for so long.”
Manwaring also bought Sophie’s in Southold and is running it with his friend Tommy Grattan. The two have revived the old restaurant tucked away on Main Bayview with burgers and pizza — and pepperoni is an option, which is never was under previous owners.
The seasoned bayman said he hopes to have the permanent Southold Fish Market opened in six to eight months.
“I’m working 100 hours a week building up two businesses, but this is it for me, this is my future,” he said. “I’m going to be doing this the rest of my life.”