Dive Beneath the Surface of Sustainable Aquaculture at Pigfish

Good Bite

Pictured: One of the sustainably sourced fish sandwiches at Pigfish. Photo Courtesy of Pigfish.

In Florida, seafood is sacred. From juicy shrimp to a mouthwatering fish sandwich, both locals and tourists alike enjoy the bounties of the sea. With a focus on celebrating iconic dishes made using sustainable ingredients, entrepreneur Anand Pallegar and chef Steve Phelps co-founded Pigfish, the eatery concept inside of Calusa Brewing Taproom. Pallegar and Phelps met years ago as neighbors living in Towles Court, bonding over their Midwestern backgrounds and similar values. Together, they pondered how to create a sustainable seafood-centered business in the midst of climate change, and Pigfish was born.

“We often talked about how you couldn’t get a great fish sandwich in Sarasota, meaning you had confidence in where it was sourced from and that it was sourced in a sustainable and ecological way,” Pallegar says. “This opportunity was emerging when we first conceived of the idea, and the concept has been years in the making.” For diners, choosing a dish from a list of tasty-sounding options is easy, but reading between the lines of that menu and deciphering the story behind what’s on the plate is mystifying. Like swimmers bobbing at the surface of the ocean with no knowledge of what’s in the water beneath them, most diners don’t know what lies under the surface of the menu. “That’s the nature of this, the idea of how do we build a transparent relationship with our patrons in educating and advancing their understanding of what sustainable aquaculture looks like and what sustainable product sourcing looks like so that you know where your food sources originate from and can make more conscious decisions related to what you’re putting into your body,” he adds. “All of our purveyors related to fish come from sustainable aquaculture sources. We’re looking to educate the public and our patrons that this is a viable, delicious form of fish that they may not have thought of.

Curious guests can enjoy a menu developed by Phelps, who brought his experience from Indigenous to the Pigfish concept. The Pigfish sandwich, which features kanpachi, crispy pork belly, green tomato relish, bacon tartar sauce, shaved cabbage and red onion on a hoagie roll highlights sustainably sourced kanpachi fish, from Forever Oceans. This company farms the kanpachi in deepwater enclosures where clean water flows in order to raise healthy, tasty and protein-rich fish ideal for a variety of dishes like sushi or pasta. The sandwich pairs well with the house hushpuppies, for which diners can choose from four tartar sauces for dipping. “It’s the whole theory behind reinventing what everyone remembers as a fish sandwich around here. Ever since I moved here I thought that even being so close to the water, we really couldn’t get a great fish sandwich,” says Phelps, “but now I’ve learned that there are better ways to do it.”

Pigfish, 5377 McIntosh Rd., Sarasota, 941-777-5220, pig.fish.

Pictured: One of the sustainably sourced fish sandwiches at Pigfish. Photo Courtesy of Pigfish.

Pigfish

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