Did you know that you can buy Gulf seafood fresh from the boat in both Galveston and Seabrook? Rarely do kids get the chance to see where their food comes from, and young minds are often curious about the rough-and-tumble sea-to-table-process. If your children are familiar with fishing themselves, they’ll like checking out the daily catch. If they’re new to the world of fresh seafood displayed on crushed ice, they’ll be fascinated to see what fish look like before they become fish sticks.
On Wharf Road along the Galveston Channel, these two family-owned businesses are the lone seafood markets left in the area that run their businesses the old-fashioned way: Fishermen motor up the channel and unload their catches directly from their boats into the stores.
SAMPSON & SON’S SEAFOOD MARKET, Pier 20 at Wharf Road, Galveston, 409-763-9316, sampsonseafood.com
Sampson & Son’s Seafood Market opened in1921 – and 94 years (and three generations) later, Milton Samson III owns the oldest retail seafood market in Galveston. “A lot of markets just truck fish in,” says Sampson, who took over the family business in 1968 when he was just 18 years old. “They don’t make ’em like this anymore – direct from the boat to you.”
What you’re likely to find here: vermillion, red snapper, whiting, calamari, flounder, tuna, oysters and live crabs.
KATIE’S SEAFOOD MARKET, Pier 19 at Wharf Road, Galveston, 409-763-8160, katiesseafoodmarket.com
The Guindon family opened Katie’s Seafood Market in 1998. With a focus on Gulf Wild-branded seafood, Buddy Guindon, his wife Katie and his brother Kenny sell all their fish (except salmon and tilapia) directly off the boat.
What exactly is Gulf Wild? Fishermen affiliated with Gulf Wild – which is a conservation-focused fishery – tag each of their caught fish with an identifying number. The number can be entered on the Gulf Wild website (mygulfwild.us) and tells the user who caught the fist, where it was caught and even what port it landed. This ensures that the fish was responsibly harvested from a conservation-focused fishery. Kids will enjoy using their computer to research exactly where supper was caught.
Across the bridge from the Kemah Boardwalk, Seabrook’s Waterfront Drive (also called 11th Avenue) is a hub for fresh seafood markets. Fish in these markets aren’t right off the boat – the fish are trucked over from the nearby piers – but most are caught by area fishermen and shrimpers.
Depending on the season, you might find red snapper, mackerel, tuna, catfish, croaker, flounder, milk fish, pompano, several kinds of crab and shrimp, plus lots of seafood seasonings. Oysters are available in the shell and by the sack, as well as shucked by the quart and gallon.
During the summer and on the weekends, you can see people fishing in the bay right behind the shops in this market area, so bring your fishing pole if you want to try your own luck.
ROSE’S SEAFOOD INC., 281-474-3536
T H SEAFOOD INC., 281-291-0339
GOLDEN SEAFOOD INC., 281-731-1929, goldenseafoodinc.com
EMERY’S SEAFOOD, 281-474-4091, emerysseafood.com
BAYBROOK’S FRESH SEAFOOD, 281-474-2846, baybrookseafood.com