Salvador Panelo, or Sal as most people call him, is a fish guy. Hence his aptly named market, Seattle Fish Guys. Panelo grew up on Beacon Hill, his father graduated from Garfield High School in ’69, then opened a tackle shop on Jackson Street. And in lieu of culinary school, Panelo took his father’s advice about getting into the seafood industry himself: “I was two years into college and my dad says, 'Why don't you go work at the fish market down the street?'" He’s been a local fishmonger ever since.
After handling seafood in Pike Place Market, Mutual Fish Co., and Uwajimaya for 32 years, Panelo is opening a place of his own, Seattle Fish Guys on the corner of 23rd and Jackson Street South in the Central District.
Fellow fishmonger and manager, Ian Tanaka, says to save yourself a trip to Pike Place, “We only buy from the top of the barrel, everything that’s fresh and looks nice.” And yes, they will also serve the trendiest bowl of raw fish, poke. “Me being from Hawaii,” says Tanaka, “I don’t do it the way all these guys do it up here.” This means no hot rice under chilled, raw fish, but yes to seaweed salad, squid salad, or kimchee on the side. Right now they have tuna, salmon, and tako (octopus) poke with a scallop version on its way. Get it to go by the pound, or stay and sit at one of the market’s 32 seats. Outdoor seating is forthcoming too.
Also from the raw bar you can get crab or shrimp cocktails, oysters shucked on site, cold-smoked lox, plus customer’s choice sashimi sliced to order. Come November expect to drink some beer and wine with all of that seafood.
This Sunday, September 4, from 1 to 4, Seattle Fish Guys is throwing a helluva shindig for its grand opening party: whole roasted pig, Penn Cove mussel eating contest, prizes, fresh seafood samples, Hawaiian cake, oh, and a lion dance. Poseidon himself might come hang out.
For more details about Seattle Fish Guys (exact location 411 23rd Avenue South), see their Facebook page.