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Finding Minnesota: Coastal Seafoods

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(credit: CBS) Angela Davis
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The fishing opener inspired a lot of our home menus this weekend.

And maybe it’s what you ordered when you took Mom out for a fancy Mother’s Day meal.

This week in Finding Minnesota, we went to the international fish market that Minnesota restaurants have turned to for 31 years.

When it comes time to stock up on the Catch Of The Day, this is where restaurant owners go.

It’s an oddly-colored building on Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis’ Seward neighborhood.

Metal artwork adorns the outside.

But inside, it’s a seafood lover’s dream.

Each morning, fresh fish and shellfish from abroad, as well as the East, West, and Gulf Coasts and arrive here.
This is Coastal Seafoods.

Retail manager Jahn Brink gave me a tour of both the part of the store that walk-in customers see, and the inside the processing room in the cooler.

“We get a lot by plane, through Delta. Minneapolis is a major hub, so we can get a lot of fish in transit before it goes to other parts of the country and we also get a lot of it by truck as well,” Jahn said.

Nearly 200 restaurants throughout Minnesota and nearby states buy their seafood here.

Jahn walked me through the space where they sort and pack the daily deliveries of fresh fish and shellfish.

Dozens of cardboard boxes line the walls, labeled with restaurant names like Bar La Grassa and The Oceanaire Seafood Room in Minneapolis.

Salmon, marlin, oysters, mussels, soft shell crabs – you name it, they got it.

And thanks to the huge orders that restaurants place, Coastal Seafoods is also able to sell to people who simply want to buy a few fillets to cook at home.

Nick Uecker lives in Buffalo but works in Minneapolis. He stopped in during a break.

“The fish, look at it, it’s beautiful,” Nick said. “Yeah, it’s wonderful. I have been to a lot of meat markets. You won’t find better fish.”

Gene Moore was picking up an order for his son’s place, Barley John’s Brew Pub in New Brighton.

“Catfish is a big deal in our place, walleye and salmon. Salmon is big too,” he said.

Coastal Seafoods also has cooking classes.

They bring in professional chefs to teach people how to make sushi, how to grill fish, and the basics of cooking seafood.

The manager told me that people living near the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans tend to be accustomed to a wide range of fish and usually have their favorites.

But in Minnesota, where the local selection is much more limited, people are eager to try new things.

“In the Midwest, it’s all unfamiliar, so people are open to trying pretty much anything, which is pretty cool,” Jahn said.

I also got some cooking advice while I was there.

The managers told me that you should bake or grill fish 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

The most common mistake people make with fish is to overcook it.

Coastal Seafoods has a second location in St. Paul on Snelling Avenue.

To check out their schedule of cooking classes, as well as peruse their varieties of fish, click here.

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