Get the catch of the day at Off the Hook

By Rachel Robles, Lifestyles editor | Aug 10, 2014
Photo by: Donated CATCH OF THE DAY — Co-owner Janette Morrissey stands behind the display case at Off the Hook Seafood Market.

Off the Hook Seafood Market cast its line during the first week of April, and business has been a hit — hook, line and sinker. Located at 2052 Dellwood Road, Waynesville, it sits right at the entrance of Maggie Valley.

“The steady traffic pattern between the two communities is what made the location just right for our business,” said co-owner Ken Keidel.

Off the Hook provides the community freshly caught local fish and seafood.

“Our goal is to bring a wide assortment of fish and shellfish to the Smoky Mountains, with a focus on what is fresh and in season,” said Keidel.

The market receives deliveries four days a week from a variety of suppliers from the Carolina coast and from distributors that specialize in expedient delivery from the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific waters. Products from the Florida Keys are also shipped to the market.

Daily fish availability includes catfish, cod, grouper, halibut, mahi-mahi, Scottish salmon, sockeye salmon, snapper, swordfish, tilapia, local rainbow trout and yellowfin tuna.

Shellfish — oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, lobster tails and crab legs — also makes a regular appearance. Live Maine lobsters are available Tuesday, Friday and Saturday with an advance order. Large orders such as bushels of live blue crabs; oysters and clams can generally be filled on short notice.

“Although seafood prices fluctuate based on seasonal availability of individual fish stocks, we make every effort to offer the freshest seafood at fair market price,” said Keidel.

Great care is taken in handling and packaging the seafood. Much of the fish is delivered whole or in sides, and customers can have their fish filleted or cut to order.

Off the Hook is also proud to provide a traditional seafood market atmosphere where fish is displayed on crushed ice in refrigerated display cases. This gives customers a good look at what is available and what is fresh each day. Additionally, grocery items — like crab cakes, sauces, spices and seasonings — and local Haywood County produce are available.

“The objective is to provide everything customers need to prepare great seafood dishes in their homes,” said Keidel.

The market is owned by Keidel and Janette Morrissey. Morrissey, originally from England, has been in the hospitality industry since 1997 and was the general manager of O’Malley’s Pub and Grill on Main Street, Waynesville, for many years, and was most recently the bar manager at the Maggie Valley Inn.

Keidel is an Ohio native with an extensive background in the journalism and publishing industries. During his 30-year career, he served in a variety of positions including production manager, editor, partner and publications director.

“Fishing has always been my passion,” he said. “Although the publishing business consumed most of my time, I fished the reefs and offshore waters of the Florida Keys at every chance and held interests in an Oyster Bar and a lobster business.”

He was able to combine journalism and his love of fishing and angling as a contributing fishing writer for a newspaper in the Keys.

“Opening a seafood market seemed like a venture that could benefit from my experience,” said Keidel.

So far, the experience has been a good one.

“We have are very encouraged by the positive response to our market,” said Keidel. “It is always fun interacting with customers, whether they are locals, part-time residents or vacationing visitors. They love to discuss seafood preferences, share favorite recipes, and, of course, ‘fish stories.’”

Off the Hook Seafood Market is open from noon to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 944-0404 for more information.