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Good Friday Brings the Crowds to Get Their Seafood

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Friday, March 21, 2008, at 03:58PM
Fisherman's Outlet Ed Fuentes

Family Affair: Mark, Bill and Max Shinbane.

Fisherman's Outlet is hidden away in the industrial area just off Skid Row, but on this Good Friday afternoon it was anything but empty. Patrons of all types and occupations lined up despite a sizable wait, making their pilgrimage to a place regarded as serving what is quite possibly L.A.'s best seafood.

On the sidewalk, 15-year-old Max Shinbane passed out menus and talked about how he almost grew up here, adding, “ I like the way you see people who would never sit together, have lunch with each other.”

Inside, his grandfather, 71-year-old patriarch and owner Bill Shinbane, watched over the packed and noisy counter. Around him carried the din of shorthand orders for shrimp, scallops and assorted charbroiled fish in Spanglish. Nearby, Max’s mother, Sherri, and his uncle, Mark, were helping with crowd control.

As a Sheriff walks by with ten to-go orders, Mark says, “This is our busiest day of the year. This isn’t ‘Good Friday.’ This is ‘Incredible Friday’.”

The small store was first an outlet for shrimp back in 1948. The business evolved over time, and by 1972 featured a seafood market and cafe. The supply comes from Ore-Cal Seafood, the market's owner. Ore-Cal does $200 million of seafood distribution through its headquarters across the street, so the Outlet has a constant supply of great product.

The food, for those of you who don’t know, is simply excellent, and it should be. Ore-Cal is the source for many major 5-star seafood restaurants.

More growth may be coming. Bill is excited about the DASH G line that has a proposed stop for Central and 5th. The prospect of easier access for customers is encouraging him to try later hours and go beyond the kitchen's current 3:30pm closing time. And Mark is keeping up on all matters of the proposed zoning policy, as space to grow becomes a commodity. All subject for another day, because at 1:30 pm, the line wasn’t getting any shorter.

The family was back doing crowd control, and Max was back out on the street passing out menus.

Fisherman’s Outlet / 529 S Central Ave

Restaurant: Monday – Saturday 10am-3:30pm / Salad Counter: Monday – Saturday 8am-5pm (Sat 8am-3:30pm) / Seafood Market: Monday – Saturday 8am-5pm (Sat 8am-3:30pm)

Fish Wrap: Two lines wrap crowds around the corner of Fisherman's Outlet waiting for seafood on a Good Friday.

Grilled to Order: Behind the counter the experienced staff works to keep up with the heavy demand on the busiest day of the year for the Central City based lunch spot.

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