Updated August 2
On May 11, Everett Whiting signed on the dotted lines finalizing his part-ownership of the Fish House — a meat and fish market at the Airport Business Park — first opened in summer 2018 by husband-wife duo Tyler Gibson and Shane Laderoute.
“I’ve been friends with Tyler and Shane for years now,” Whiting said. “They approached me about getting involved.”
Laderoute and Gibson always envisioned a kitchen in their original Fish House business plan.
“Last year, we ran out of time to put in the full kitchen, so we put that on hold,” Laderoute said. “We knew we needed a chef. We couldn’t do the kitchen, the fish, and the retail without having someone solid who knows kitchens.”
On May 14, construction began, and in typical native Islander fashion, Whiting and Gibson rolled up their sleeves and built it themselves. “We’re a versatile bunch,” Whiting said of his local roots. They worked around the clock for six weeks.
By July 3, five building inspectors made their way in and out of the Fish House, and on July 5, Edgartown health agent Matt Poole gave them the green light. “We were able to get our orders in that day, work all night, and open on the 6th,” Whiting said. “Somehow we pulled it off.”
By Fourth of July weekend, the Fish House kitchen was cranking out its first takeaway orders. Their menu packs a list of grilled salmon sandwiches, salads, soups, Local Smoke pulled pork, lobster rolls, fish sandwiches, tacos, poke bowls, and clams, oysters, shrimp, scallops, and lobster fritters from the fryer. This is an elevated take on the classic local fish market menu.
Whiting most recently worked as a chef at the Sweet Life in Oak Bluffs — showcasing his white-tablecloth, fine-dining forte. “I was a little reluctant to get involved, because I didn’t want to be flipping burgers and fish sandwiches,” Whiting said. But when the Fish House business opportunity presented itself, Whiting honed-in on its potential.
“Let’s do the best fish sandwiches, the best fish tacos,” Whiting said. “We want to raise the bar. There’s plenty of room to keep growing with this place.”
They’re focused on keeping things fresh and consistent in the kitchen this summer — fine-tuning menu items, as well as staffing and hours. “Fresh product that moves in and out and a consistent menu that’s not overachieving,” Whiting said.
Come fall, they’ll start charting other waters, maybe catering, and maybe a booth at next year’s Ag Fair — Whiting has experience in both. He brought his Local Smoke booth to the Ag Fair eight years in a row. There’s also talk of integrating Blue Apron-style takeaway boxes with protein, Island vegetables, and a recipe to cook at home.
“We’ll start slow, and build on this machine here,” Laderoute said.
“I’m looking forward to the shoulder season,” Whiting added.
The original concept for the Fish House stemmed from a merging of passions. Laderoute grew up in restaurants and worked for wholesale fish companies for a number of years. Her husband, Gibson, is a local fisherman (and a landscaper, contractor, cook, etc.) Gibson was runner up in the Local Wild Food Challenge two years in a row — runner up to none other than Whiting himself.
“We were seeing all this Island fish getting shipped off-Island, and we wanted to open another avenue of keeping local fish on the Island,” Laderoute said. “That’s how it evolved.”
By their last count, Laderoute, Gibson, and Whiting are each tallying 100-hour weeks. Whiting’s in the kitchen, Gibson handles deliveries, and Laderoute is usually working market retail. “We knew what we were getting into,” Whiting said. “The last three weeks have felt like years. But we’ve come leaps and bounds from where we were on the 6th.”
And the food is top-notch. On my first visit, I tried the Fried Fish Tacos, which came with a healthy serving of golden, lightly fried fish served with shredded cabbage, fresh pico de gallo, and creamy chili sauce on a corn tortilla. My colleague ordered a Grilled Salmon Club, served with Applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, and pesto mayo on focaccia. I’ve been back twice since, once to try the Fried Fish Sandwich, served with tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato, and cheese on a bulky roll, and again to try the Poke Bowl, which is their best seller, according to Whiting. It’s served with the daily catch, smoked Martha’s Vineyard Mycological mushrooms, steamed rice, pickled ginger, nori, wakame, avocado, tobiko, and soy dressing. Many menu items can be served vegan or gluten-free — just ask.
“Let’s take as much Island stuff as possible, use the best ingredients we have, and turn people on to good, fresh, local food,” Whiting said. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel — we’re not trying to overcommit and underachieve. We’re trying to pull off something with some real consistency so that people keep coming back.”
“We’re not your cookie-cutter fried food shack,” Gibson added.
The Fish House Market is open Monday through Saturday 9 am to 7 pm, and 10 am to 6 pm on Sundays. The takeout kitchen is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 am to 8 pm, and Sundays from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. For more information, visit thefishhousemv.com, or call 508-693-0055.