clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Fahlstrom's Fresh Fish Market Lands Ashore in Lakeview; Check Out the Space and Menus Inside

Owner Glenn Fahlstrom is aiming to turn his sea sandwiches into a chain ala Potbelly.

When Fahlstrom's Fresh Fish Market soft opens today in Lakeview, guests can expect a sit down restaurant featuring all-day breakfast, sandwiches and fresh fish and seafood entrees. But Glenn Fahlstrom has, ahem, bigger fish to fry. He has also carved out a section for the purchase of "sea plates," cooked fish paired with two sides, as well as Potbelly-esque sea sandwiches.

The sea sandwiches are what Fahlstrom hopes to turn into a franchise. There are currently eight selections prepared fresh while you wait. The fish for the hot sandwiches and sea plates takes a trip through a machine that cooks the food with high temperature infrared heat.

For the "Crabster" Alaskan king crab roll, they take the meaty length of the crab leg, split it open and send it down the machine to cook in its shell. What comes out is an incredibly big, meaty piece of crab meat that goes right onto the toasted and buttered sandwich roll with seasoning, mayo and celery. Fahlstrom even gives his phone number on the menu to thank him for the creation.

Speaking of Alaskan king crab legs, you'll be able to enjoy all of them you like (no sharing allowed) on Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. You just have to call and make a reservation.

Fahlstrom, who is also a stage actor and director (he intends to seek out stage work again at some point), has been working in fish restaurants most of his life. He even was given the nickname of "fish" as a young boy in Catholic school (he still has no idea how he got tagged with it at that point). In his early restaurant days working for Lettuce Entertain You he was part of the company's first seafood restaurant, Jonathan Livingston Seafood. His resume also includes Evanston's Davis Street Fish Market (where he was a co-owner), as well at Glenn's Diner in North Center, which he left acrimoniously two years ago.

His split with his former "silent" business partner didn't leave him bitter or lacking in desire to carry on. The idea for what has become Fahlstrom's Fresh Fish Market has been on his mind for years and today, after four months of construction in the former La Gondola space, it has become a reality. To celebrate the opening, all menu items will be half-price today and tomorrow (this does not apply to the actual fish market).

Fahlstrom's Fresh Fish Market shares many nods to Fahlstrom's restaurant past. Besides the obvious of fresh fish and seafood, there's also a cereal wall like at his former namesake restaurant (a fish dish is crusted with Froot Loops) and the restaurant's chef, David Najman, once worked at Davis Street Fish Market.

As for the food that Najman is putting out, Fahlstrom says the recipes come from all over his years in the restaurant business and is presented as simply as possible. "The food sells itself.We try not to hide the fish at all. If anything, we try to enhance the flavor of the fish" through things like bourbon glazes and the afore-mentioned Froot Loops crust. Composed plates come with a half-pound of protein, as well as vegetables and potato. The fish plates are listed on both sides of a chalkboard wall that divides the restaurant seating from the market (which also features high-top as well as bar seating).

He says that the inexperienced fish / seafood eater is his favorite customer to get. He knows that they may want something mild to leap off with, suggesting a milder fish such as tilapia, cobia, walleye pike or even swordfish. From there he feels they will come back and venture further into the menu.

The interior (which you can view in full in the gallery above) is open and bright, featuring wood tables and wood-backed chairs with bright blue cushions. There is the long fish case that shows off the incredibly vibrant, fresh fish on the east side of the restaurant, with the west side containing the main dining room. There's also a very creative piece of chalkboard art featuring an astrology chart with cereal mascots.

Fahlstrom's Fresh Fish Market is open now until 10:00 p.m. this evening. They will also be open Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. and then closed on Sunday. Monday will be their official grand opening. Weekday hours will run 11 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., weekends 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Chicago newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world