After five salty years, Judd made a hard call. “I was a good fisherman, but I knew I wasn’t great. As a commercial fisherman your life is narrowly focused on catching fish and hoping the market is in your favor. Sometimes you get one price over the radio, and the next day at the dock they knock off 15% and blame the market.”
He returned to shore, married his high school crush, Maryanne, and they got to building a business and then a family.
Pretty soon Judd had shellfish coming in from the East Coast and New Zealand, along with whole fish from Alaska all the way down to the Sea of Cortez. Fisherman trusted him to pay the price at the dock that he quoted them at sea.
The fish were big, and the shorts were short!
Their daughter Annemarie arrived and son Austen (now a commercial fisherman!) came closely after.
After 16 years moving from warehouse to warehouse, Pacific Shellfish needed a forever home. Around that time a hulking concrete warehouse on Cass St. went up for sale.
No stranger to big dreams, Judd and Maryanne went for it. With the help of friends, family, and architect Tony Cutri they punched 23 holes for windows, poured 11,000 square feet of concrete slab, and restored a 30 foot antique fish case from the 1930s.
Maryanne designed an open floor plan for the fish case and the restaurant. “I’m from retail and my intent was to present quality fish the way I had presented clothes. We built a fish boutique! The food in the restaruant was to be simple and honest, because good seafood doesn’t need to be any other way. How hard could it be?”
Turns out running a restaurant is very hard, and the learning curve was steep. Nothing could have prepared them, but they persisted and developed a loyal local following who came for the simple classics that Maryanne envisioned.
In 2010 Annemarie returned from Oregon to work in the family restaurant. The “owners’ daughter” had to work twice as hard to earn her place, and in five years she was mananging the floor. Her growing interest in wine would lead to The Fishery’s award winning list. Her growing friendship with co-manager Nick Lorenz led to a much bigger partnership.
Day to day, Annemarie and Nick share duties and are building a world class team. Their travels abroad - specifically one life-changing cocktail at a London bar - inspired them to expand the bar and create a cocktail program. Other changes are in the works, fitting for the next generation.
“How many restaurants do you know that stay open for 25 years and beyond? People get tired, concepts get stale. The Fishery is evolving and it’s time for Maryanne and me to stay out of the way and let Annemarie and Nick keep hitting it out of the park.” - Judd Brown