Owned by the Pachico family, John’s Fish Market has been around for 67 years. Saltwater must run through the veins of the fishermen in the family, because they clearly love the ocean and what it provides.
The market is unassuming, tucked into 5 Martin Road in Vineyard Haven. I’m ashamed to have never visited in my seven years of living on this Island. That changed when I walked into John’s Fish Market/Sandy’s Fish & Chips and saw the display cases of freshly caught seafood. We met Mitchell Pachico behind the counter; he’s one of Glenn Pachico’s sons, and also partly responsible for most of the fish sold at the market. He fishes with his brother, Tyler; they start at 4:30 each morning and fish until the sun sets.
Not only is the seafood they catch sold fresh, they also sell a variety of market-smoked seafood that would make a delicious snack, dinner, or picnic addition. Smoked salmon, smoked bluefish, and smoked tuna are just some of the spreads available, but what really got my attention was the fresh tuna salad. John’s Fish Market might just be the only place on Martha’s Vineyard that’s making tuna salad from fresh tuna filets. The flavor and texture is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, so make sure to head over and try it yourself.
Having read about “Chef Oh’s specials” on Facebook, I was intrigued about not only what the offerings were, but who was Chef Oh, and why was he cooking Asian specialty dishes out of a fish market in Vineyard Haven? It turns out that Chef Oh has become part of the family after working with Glenn and the Pachicos for decades. They met fishing, obviously, and one thing led to another, and now Chef Oh is the resident chef at the market. Items like Malaysian Spicy Coconut Seafood and Halibut with Ginger Scallion, with either pasta or rice ($12-$18), are what will hook you. Both are incredibly flavorful, made with freshly caught seafood, and with a great price, they’ll become regular lunch and dinner options when you crave Asian speciality dishes.
If you like to stick to New England favorites, there are two items you must order: the fish wrap stuffed with cabbage and a tangy housemade sauce ($8.50), and the linguica clam cakes, a Rhode Island classic ($1.50 each). A half-pound of the fresh tuna ($9) is a must as well. But ultimately, you’ll return for the great family-friendly environment, and the smiles from the entire family, who are cooking the fresh clam cakes or packaging up a couple of pounds of fresh seafood for your next clambake.
Visit them at 5 Martin Road in Vineyard Haven, or call in your order for pick up at 508-693-1220. Follow them on Facebook for daily updates on specials, bit.ly/2s3Muis.
This article by Marnely Murray originally appeared on mvtimes.com.