Fish Market owner hopes to catch some seafood-loving customers |

Fish Market owner hopes to catch some seafood-loving customers

Chop Shop’s sister store offerings differ from the usual fare

The Fish Market Park City is located at 1154 Center Drive at Kimball Junction. For information, email or visit
John Courtney, co-owner and manager of the newly opened Fish Market Park City offers seafood fare that isn’t usually found in the Wasatch Back.
David Jackson/Park Record

Chop Shop Park City co-owner and butcher John Courtney has cast a line with a new store and eatery that will hopefully catch some seafood lovers.

Fish Market Park City, located at 1154 Center Drive, across the street from the Chop Shop, is cruising to offer the “freshest seafood from seasonal waters near, far, and everywhere in between,” Courtney said.

“This is pretty much the seafood version of what we do at Chop Shop, but with a different format,” he said. “There is no wood-fire oven, so I’m using different preparation techniques to showcase fish. I’m trying to demonstrate what fish can do without pushing a square peg into a round hole.”

The market, which opened a couple of weeks ago, offers a menu that includes oysters in the half shell, lobsters, shrimp, snapper, halibut, swordfish and more, in unique ways, according to Courtney.

I also want to stay as true as I can to a lot of cultures, especially ones that I’m not a part of…” John Courtney, Fish Market Park City co-owner and manager

“The Chop Shop proved that we could showcase different types of cuisines from around the world and provide different flavor profiles, which is something we can do at the Fish Market,” he said. “We can break down a 40-pound halibut and use the bones and make our house kabayaki sauce, which is like an eel sauce, that we sell here. And we can prepare different kimchis and carry different types of rice, different types of soy sauces and brands you don’t usually find at the local markets.”

While the Fish Market Park City does offer many Asian-forward ingredients, that doesn’t mean it is void of European and American ingredients, Courtney said.

“I just feel like Chop Shop already hits those notes, so I want to give people who don’t want to drive to Salt Lake some options,” he said. “I also want to stay as true as I can to a lot of cultures, especially ones that I’m not a part of.”

The Fish Market sources seafood from 11 different docks around the world, according to Courtney.

“Everything delivered from those docks will be next-day air,” he said.

The idea to open a seafood store and restaurant has been spy-hopping in Courtney’s mind for years.

“My days in the industry actually started out with fish,” he said. “I got a job as a sous-chef with Rick Moonen at RMC Food in Las Vegas, and his two executive chefs, Jonah Kim and Anthony Fusco, opened my eyes to the world of fish. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned from those three gentlemen who are friends as well, with the rest of my career path.”
Courtney ran RMC’s fish department and oversaw lunch operations.

“I basically did whatever was needed, and I learned about the importance of sustainable seafood,” he said.

Knowing the difference between wild and line caught or pen caught is important, but Courtney said the real question is asking where the bait originates.

“There are big fish companies that are decimating huge populations of fish in Brazil that are shipped to another country to be processed into bait and packaged,” he said. “The packages are then shipped to Hawaii where people use them to catch amazing tasting, wild snappers. So when you really look at the process, is it really sustainable?”

While Courtney can’t remove the bait business, he can do his part to make sure the fish and seafood he uses are responsibly sourced.

“I also want to showcase what I don’t see offered in Park City,” he said. “I think what everyone is doing is great, so I want to find those little avenues and cracks.”

John Courtney carefully places some salmon in a churashi bowl that he offers at the newly opened Fish Market Park City in Newpark. The seafood Courtney uses comes from 11 ports located around the world, and is sent to Park City through next-day shipping.
David Jackson/Park Record

In addition to oysters on the half shell, other Fish Market menu items will include smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, asparagus salad, a churashi bowl with salmon and sushi rice and the Tin Fish Board.

“I’m turning what you do with a cheese and charcuterie board and flipping it on its head,” Courtney said. 

Fish Market works with the Tiny Fish Co. out of Portland, Oregon, for the tin choices that will include octopus lemon dill, whitefish in sweet soy, or smoked mussels, sushi rice, house kimchi, soy-marinated tofu and rice crackers.

Courtney is offering fresh and frozen grab-and-go packages and pantry items.

“We want people to be able to buy the products off the shelf and then enjoy them at home,” she said.

There is also in-store dining for those who want to soak up the Fish Market’s ambiance.

One of the walls is adorned with an image of pier in La Jolla taken by award-winning photographer Jared McMillen of McMillen Fine Art Photography, and the tables and counters of monkey pod wood were designed and procured by Ramsey Madsen, of Ramsey Madsen Design.

Courtney also tapped Vantage Point Construction to build the interior of the 1,275 square foot space.

“They’ve done a great job of taking what my ideas are and getting them off the paper,” Courtney said.

Courtney already has plans to further introduce the Fish Market to Park City.

“We are planning some monthly progressive dinners that will start here for appetizers and main courses and then end at the Chop Shop for desserts,” he said. “So having the Fish Market across the street from the Chop Chop seemed the right fit for the community.”


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