Fishmonger Kathleen Hulsey recently opened a third location of her seafood market Kathleen’s Catch, this time in Brookhaven at 3436 Clairmont Road, in partnership with her daughter Sara Waterman. “We’ve had a huge welcome here,” Hulsey says. 

Kathleen Hulsey, left, and daughter Sara Waterman are partners in the new Kathleen’s Catch location in Brookhaven (Special).

She first opened in Johns Creek in 2011 and added a second location in Milton in 2015. Oysters, shrimp, scallops, lobster rolls, chowders, crab cakes and octopus are just some of the items on offer for pickup or delivery. Hulsey is an advocate for sustainability and the proper cultivation of seafood. For more, see kathleenscatch.com.

Your original impetus to launch the business was the lack of fresh fish available to you in local grocery stores, right? 

Yes. My husband works at [wholesale distributor] Inland Seafood. I could find fresh fish there, but I couldn’t find it in a retail setting.

How difficult is it for you to get fresh seafood all the time in a landlocked place like Atlanta?

It’s actually perfect for me for two reasons: our airport has non-stop flights from everywhere in the world to here, so fish flies in all day long. As far as domestic fish goes, we are situated on the highway from Miami with all kinds of fish from the Gulf — stone crabs and everything else — then all the way up to Maine for the lobster, so it’s very easy to get fish everyday. 

You obviously try to sell all the fish you have on a daily basis, but what happens with what’s left over at the end of the day?

We carry it over a second day but if it doesn’t sell it becomes a member of our “No Fish Left Behind” program: we vacuum-seal it, freeze it and sell it at a discount. But it’s still fresher than anything you could get in a grocery store. 

You also help customers with advice on how to prepare fish, taking a lot of the guesswork out of it.

Yes, absolutely. We have some things to make it a little easier: seasonings, cocktail sauce, mustards and such, and we have ideas on ways to cook that help people. Another good thing we do is we offer fish by the pound but we also sell it by the portion, and those pieces are generally 6 ounces. There’s no skin and no bone so If you want to make a dinner for four people you can buy four perfect pieces of fish rather than having to guess how many pounds you need to buy.

You do ready-made meals as well?

We do one a week. It changes every Monday and it’s called Catch to Go. It is an oven-ready meal with a side, and you just add a sauce or seasoning and put it in the oven which is a good way to teach people how to cook fish. It’s a way to get started.

You also have wine, Champagne and produce, correct? Even caviar? 

Yes, and cheese and charcuterie. We don’t keep caviar in stock here but we can get it overnight from our supplier. Over the holidays we get a lot of caviar [orders] but this time of year it’s not so big. 

Talk a bit about sustainability and farmed fish versus wild fish.

Those two subjects are intricately involved because I believe in supporting aquaculture if it’s done correctly. Aquaculture has been around since ancient times but it’s had a pretty bad reputation in recent years. Now there are companies out there who are doing it right and that means no growth hormones and no antibiotics in their feed. They’re not in crowded pens, they are in open ocean pens with fast-moving cold water. Those are the companies where I look for farmed fish. And the reason I promote aquaculture to such an extreme is there aren’t enough fish in the ocean to satisfy appetites for our future generations, so if people can do it in a clean, healthy manner I’m happy to support that.

Kevin C. Madigan

Kevin C. Madigan is a freelance journalist based in metro Atlanta.