Flying Fish Company, the teeny sustainable seafood market and oyster bar socked into the corner of NE Sandy Boulevard’s fancy Providore Market, has been a draw for fans of rigorously sourced fish and sea critters for a few years now—a spot to slurp just-shucked Shigokus and sip cava elbow to elbow with local chefs and score seasonal finds from petrale sole to tribal caught Columbia River salmon.
Now, owner Lyf Gildersleeve is ready to launch the next phase of his fresh take on seafood. Come next spring, Flying Fish will open its own counter service restaurant, fish market, and oyster bar in the space last home to People’s Pig at 3004 East Burnside Ave. Gildersleeve, an ebullient second generation fishmonger who started hawking sustainable seafood from a big white truck in Southeast Portland nearly a decade ago, envisions a casual neighborhood spot where he hopes locals will drop by for fresh-cut fillets mid-morning, snag proper fish and chips at lunch, relax in a booth with the family for dinner, or maybe down a half-dozen oysters at the bar with cocktails.
“In this day and age people want to eat their fish at a fish market because they know it will be fresh,” he says excitedly, mapping out his plan for the space, which leans, shockingly, on a fishing boat theme, and includes the big oyster bar that he’s lugging over from Flying Fish’s Providore space.
The tight menu, which will run around $15 an entrée, will feature many of Gildersleeve’s current go-tos, from shucked-to-order oysters, poke, and smoked salmon dips, but the new kitchen allows the fish monger to flex a bit too. He’s planning new dishes like grilled salmon salad, fish sandwiches, steamed clams and mussels, a bright, citrusy clam chowder bobbing with house-smoked bacon, and, most importantly, legit fish and chips—thick fillets of Alaskan true cod with a whisper of crust to lock in moisture. He’s planning to offer both regular and gluten-free recipes, and market specials like rockfish, halibut cheeks, and albacore. “In the 1980s, when my family started Flying Fish, my dad had a fish and chips restaurant,” says Gildersleeve. “It’s gonna be a fun thing to going back to do that.”
Gildersleeve plans to open as early as February 2020, with renovations slated for December and January, and has designs on cooking classes—fish filleting to sushi rolling—and a big outdoor beer garden later in 2020. In the meantime, Flying Fish has launched a Go Fund Me campaign complete with a sizzle reel (and they're enticing future eaters with holiday gift cards).
"We’ll be getting fish in every day of the week, and we’ll turn it faster because you’re selling it in both categories,” he explains of the benefit of running a restaurant and market out of the same space. “It’s all about simple flavors, super high-quality fish, and letting the fish speak for itself.”