The Katchup

California’s Largest Restaurant Started As A Front For Sports Betting

The San Pedro Fish Market attracts people in droves, clogs freeways, and serves up more seafood that your eyes can handle, but we learned they have a bit of a secretive origin story.

The fish market’s founder Tommy Amalfitano, and CEO Henry Ungaro appeared on The Katchup Podcast, breaking down the ins and outs of the restaurant. While discussing how it all started, Amalfitano shared that Ungaro’s grandfather, Mackey, used the then tiny fish shop, as a front for his sports betting operations.

“…their grandfather, he was a bookie,” Amalfitano admitted with laughter. “He needed a front for his bookie operations. True story.”

Amalfitano recalled being a teenager at the time, and he’d often be used to transport envelopes to a local bowling alley, which apparently was also another front for a bookie.

Of course, this was all in the 1950’s, long before the the San Pedro Fish Market was actually the phenomenon it is today, but as the young kids learning the ropes of fishing and getting into the fish business, they too picked up on making that “extra cash” on the side.

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By Isai Rocha

Isai is the self-proclaimed Kanye West of burrito eating. He has a hard time trusting vegans, ranch dressing and especially vegan ranch dressing.