Nelson's Meat + Fish will open tomorrow in Phoenix at 24th Street and Indian School Road. The market, run by Chris Nelson, will provide a range of high-end meat and fish products, many flown in from far parts of the country and world. Nelson’s will also sell upscale dry goods and prepared foods.
The owner's unique experience makes this an intriguing opening.
Nelson cooked in restaurant kitchens for 20 years. For the past eight, he worked as a supply-chain maestro for Seafoods.com, coordinating the routing of meat and fish from small suppliers all over the world to hotels and restaurants.
“I’m trying to work with as many fishermen around the world as possible to expedite fish from where caught to point of sale,” he says of his plans for Nelson's.
Nelson has relationships with suppliers. He knows a guy who fishes the Gulf of Mexico and provides wild shrimp that “snap like a Nathan’s hot dog” in your mouth. Every morning, he gets a list from a fish auctioneer based in Hawaii, detailing the prices of big eye tuna, barracudas, and other species.
From a network of suppliers of this nature, Nelson flies in fish. (The market will be closed Sunday and Monday because FedEx won't overnight to him on the weekends.)
The fish offerings at Nelson's market will feature a core of staples. Beyond that core, Nelson aims to provide variety based on the time of year.
“I really want to follow the seasons of seafood,” he says. “For example, Florida stone crab season opened on October 15. Nantucket Bay scallop season opens tomorrow.”
Nelson notes that right now, Alaska's halibut and salmon seasons are coming to a close. Once these suppliers can't furnish him with the goods, he'll pivot to another in New Zealand, where fish are entering season and he’ll be able to source John Dory, King salmon, wreckfish, and others.
“We’re going to give people as many options as possible,” he says.
Meat-wise, Nelson’s focus will be similarly based on hookups. From the past, he has relationships with wagyu ranchers, heritage pork producers, and so on.
To start, available cuts will include New York strip, filet, and rib eye — a lot of the familiar stuff. The market will also feature more specialized breeds and cuts, like a frenched pork chop sourced from Salmon Creek Farms’ Duroc pigs, a heritage breed.
Ryan Laufenburger, lately of Brat Haus, will be making the prepared food.
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As of now, the anchors of the prepared food selection will be cold, ready-to-go eats like poke, ceviche, nicoise, and lobster rolls. Noble Bread is developing a bun for the poke bahn mi. Sauces like cocktail, remoulade, and chipotle-sour-orange mignonette will be made from scratch.
Doors open at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow.
Let us know if you find any cool offbeat fish chilling in the display case.
Nelson’s Meat + Fish. 2415 East Indian School Road
Tuesday to Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.