Huntington's premier seafood market, Jewel City Seafood, closed for a few days recently to complete a mini renovation to its kitchen before reopening on Thursday, Feb. 7. The seafood market and restaurant suffered a tragic loss in August 2018 when founder Joe Beter died. Today, the business is owned and operated by Dickie Anderson and Amy Beter Anderson, the brother-in-law and sister of Joe Beter.
"Joe was something. I miss him like crazy. Joe worked in the wholesale seafood business in Florida for 20-something years. I visited him in the late '90s and he said he was going to open a seafood market up here. I thought he was kidding until he showed up in my driveway in the fall of 1999 with a freezer in the back of a pickup truck full of seafood. In the fall of that year, we reconstructed the old Trailways bus station into a market. I also helped him work for a few months when the business first opened before I went back to the fire department," Dickie Anderson explained. "In 2007, he moved into this building because he wanted a full-fledged restaurant. I put this together with him as well."
The Andersons have been keeping an eye on the future. The renovation was planned for early February so the restaurant would be ready for the season of Lent.
"We took four days off. We put in a ventilation system called a hood system. The size of your ventilation system dictates how many pieces of equipment you can operate in the kitchen. We had two deep fryers and a stove in the kitchen. Now we have two deep fryers, two stoves, a griddle and a char-broiler in there," Anderson said. "We've been able to double the size of the equipment. We reset the kitchen where we can handle more quality products and a bigger quantity of customers."
Anderson is hoping to roll out some new specials and a revised menu.
"As we lead into Ash Wednesday, we are hoping to have some Mardi Gras-themed activities. We have revised our menu. We trimmed it a bit, but starting next month we are going to add some pastas and new dishes that our chef Brian Bader has come up with," Anderson said. "On Feb. 14 we're going to be doing a surf-and-turf kabob that will consist of beef loin medallions, scallops and shrimp."
Jewel City Seafood offers a variety of meals including Baja fresh tacos, fish and chips, and Po'Boy sandwiches served with a choice of fish, shrimp or crab. There is also a variety of specials on weekdays, including a $5 meal with a Marshall University student ID. More specials can be found on the restaurant's Facebook page.
"The big things right now are the blue cod from the Boston area. The walleye and trout are always fresh. So is the blue catfish from the Chesapeake Bay area," Anderson said. "We have trucks running here twice a week that bring in all the oysters from the coast area. The oysters, mussels and clams are always super, super fresh. Our Scottish salmon is also phenomenal."
Jewel City Seafood is located at 1317 4th Ave. in Huntington. It is open from 10:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursdays and from 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. For daily specials, follow them online at https://www.facebook.com/jewelcityseafood/. For carry-out order or more information call 304-529-7961.