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R.I.P. Mutual Fish
Third generation seafood market Mutual Fish is closing, meaning that their building on Rainier Avenue will more than likely get covered in graffiti, followed by a mysterious fire, followed by demolition and a construction of a maximized square footage condo/charter school building. That’s what happened recently to their neighbor down the street, Borracchini’s. The North end of Rainier Avenue is gentrifying rapidly as the last of the second and third generation family businesses disappear.
Although it was nice to have a fish market close to Nirvana Wok headquarters, Mutual Fish was very expensive and I seldom went there. They supplied restaurants and whatever product was left went out to the retail counter for the neighbors who could afford it.
Mutual Fish survived COVID - sort of. I found no records of them receiving any pandemic “loans.” During the pandemic I noticed that their oysters were suddenly $25-$35 a dozen and when I asked Harry Yoshimura-san, the owner, about it he said something vague about supply chain issues. None of those factors changed the price of oysters anywhere else. With the restaurant trade temporarily dead farmers were happy to unload oysters at lower prices but that didn’t trickle down to this place.
On my last visit I this Summer I bought Dover sole and when I got home I realized it was tilapia - which shrunk in the pan and gave off water - a sign of chemical treatment. I’m sure this was a mistake but that was a hint of what was soon to come. And they were out of clams, too!
You can tell a place is not pleasant to work at when historical Craigslist data shows constant help wanted ads - high turnover equals low pay and unhappy workers. They also kept a German Shepherd in a cage behind the parking lot. I hate to be a contrarian here but - a dog in a cage? Good riddance.
The Yoshimura family is retiring and leaving a void in South Seattle.
The market was opened by current co-owner Harry Yoshimura's father in 1946.
A beloved Seattle fish market will close its doors permanently next week. After nearly 77 years, owners of Mutual Fish in Rainier Valley quietly announced their retirement on Facebook over Labor Day weekend.
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