Name: Capt. Frank's Seafood Market
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday
A peek inside some of South Florida's unique food shops.
Wow factor: If you didn't know better, you may drive by this unassuming building just east of Interstate 95. But looks are deceiving. Once inside, chances are you'll be delighted with not only the wide range of fresh seafood available but also the variety of highly selective, top-quality groceries that fill the shelves, coolers and freezers surrounding the seafood showcase — making it a one-stop shop for tonight's dinner.
This retail and wholesale seafood market does incredible business attributing to the high product turnover, resulting in superior freshness. The old-school customer service provided by owners Joe Sclafani — Jr. and Sr. — is part of the charm. They are on a first-name basis with the regular clientele and extend the same hospitality to newcomers.
Quotes: "Joey's the boss. I don't want the responsibility anymore. I like to come and go as I please," said Joe Sclafani Sr., who is content working for his son, Joe Jr., after years in the business. "This is a very tough game. You have to be born into it to really understand it."
When asked about his secret to success, he emphatically replied, "There's no secret, it's constant hard work. I'm here six days a week and Joey's here seven."
Background: In the early '90s, Joe Sclafani Sr. sold his partnership in a seafood market in Rye, N.Y., and headed to Florida with his family to escape "the lousy weather." He purchased an existing business in Boynton Beach called Capt. Frank's Seafood Market. The only stipulation was that the name, of the original owner's grandfather, would remain the same.
Joe Jr. had worked in the New York shop and put his acquired skills to work the new market, developing his own loyal following and tailoring his product selection to a diverse group of year-round and seasonal customers. They grew the business steadily and gradually added a few grocery staples. Four years ago, they expanded their offerings considerably to include selected meats, caviars, frozen desserts, fresh produce, house-baked breads, and a wide range of staples from condiments to sauces to grains, pastas, and prepared and frozen foods.
Buy this: For appetizers, pick up a half-pint of house-made smoked mahi dip ($5.99), or Maryland crab cakes or New England-style lobster cakes ($4.59 each). Choose from homemade cocktail, tartar, mustard or dill dipping sauces ($3.99 each). Crusty loaves of fresh baked ciabatta and baguettes ($3), or perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes are displayed at the register and are hard to pass up. Fresh salmon and local snappers and grouper are always favorites from the seafood case, market priced. For the final touch, take home a large mango pie ($19.99). American and Italian caviars ($22.99-$69.99) and Maine lobster tails, starting at 1 ½ pounds and up, are perfect for special occasions or holidays. When you're done shopping, your purchases are packed with care, on ice, and a charming smile sends you on your merry way.