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.
As the largest fish market on the West Coast, the San Pedro Fish Market is no stranger to success, however, one of their newer ventures may be in jeopardy.
Tommy “The Boss” Amalfitano continues to manage operations at the actual fish market and restaurant in California, as Henry, Mike, and Tommy Jr. are pitching their line of frozen seafood products at the annual Boston Seafood Expo in Massachusetts.
While Mike and Anthony, one of his new consultants for the grocery products, try to get business done and meet with potential buyers, Henry and Tommy Jr. appear to be more interested in trying out samples on the expo floor.
Mike was definitely under a lot of pressure at the Seafood Expo. His frozen products project, which he launched five years back, hasn’t been as successful as he’s wanted it to be, and he’s counting on some big buys and client contracts to help turn things around. Plus, there’s always the added stress of Tommy Sr. not being too pleased with the frozen foods side of the business either, and he’s got his own take on what both a win and a loss at the Boston Seafood Expo looks like.
“Success means the project goes on. No success means you gotta make a decision. Cut the project, get rid of them, do something. If they don’t produce, what the hell good are they?”
Here’s to hoping that the San Pedro team in Boston can bring in some new business for their frozen products. Their futures at the fish market may very well depend on it.
Tune in every Friday for a brand new episode of Kings Of Fi$h Season 3. Or, if you need to catch up on past episodes, or just to binge watch, all KOF episodes can be found on FOODBEAST, YouTube and Facebook.
In episode 12 of the Kings Of Fi$h series, the old adage, “when the cat’s away, the mice will play,” could be the best analogy for any member of the The San Pedro Fish Market family, especially when Tommy “The Boss” Amalfitano is not in sight.
Having returned to his day-to-day routine of running the San Pedro Fish Market after a mini-stint in retirement, Tommy “The Boss”Amalfitano is more fired up than ever. But, that doesn’t mean he’s a happy camper.
Adding to his frustration, Henry, Mike, and Tommy Jr. head to Boston, Mass. — during St. Patrick’s Day weekend — for the annual Boston Seafood Expo to market the company’s frozen seafood product. However, the Three Stooges of San Pedro seem to be celebrating St. Patty’s Day nearly 3,000 away from Tommy Sr. — and loving every minute of it.
While the boys are away, Tommy Sr. is left to oversee daily operations in San Pedro, and as a result, expresses his concern about what the trio is actually accomplishing. The only thing that Tommy Sr. seems confident in is the fact that his seafood market is running efficiently without them.
“Who the hell needs ’em? This place is running just fine. Whether they’re here or not — we’re rollin!” — Tommy “The Boss” Amalfitano
As Mike, Henry, and Tommy Jr. head to the seafood expo after a long night of celebrating Irish heritage, it’s clear they’re in over their heads — since they can’t even find their booth.
Still, the future of the company rests on the success of the frozen product, and if the boys don’t get their act together — the entire company will be on ice.
Tune in every Friday for a brand new episode of Kings Of Fi$h Season 3. Or, if you need to catch up on past episodes or just to binge watch, all KOF episodes can be found on FOODBEAST TV, YouTube and Facebook.
A few months ago, FOODBEAST broke the internet after revealing to the masses San Pedro Fish Market’s now world famous Seafood Super Tray, which received more than 30 million views online. The virality of this colossal seafood tray actually shut down freeway off-ramps into the Port of Long Beach, with “tens of thousands” of people making their way out to this legendary family-owned seafood eatery to try a Super Tray of their own.
Capitalizing on the success of the previous Super Tray, and to celebrate the premiere of Kings of Fi$h Season 3, FOODBEAST and Corona invited some friends and family to the San Pedro Fish Market for a special event — the unveiling of a new Super Tray XXXL.
Photo: Courtesy Port of LA
Weighing in at more than 100 pounds, the Super Tray XXXL broke nearly every neck in attendance on the crowded water-front patio. Stacked to the brim with lobsters, crab, along with more than 10 different types of locally caught seafood and seasoned to perfection with San Pedro Fish Market’s signature spices, the XXXL Tray is a sight to behold for anyone with a formidable appetite. The Super Tray XXXL is the equivalent of a golf-cart stuffed with seafood, ready to knock out 18 holes of hunger in one trip.
Photo: Courtesy of Port of LA
This overflowing tub of seafood is literally rolled to your table and includes large shell shrimp, black mussels, Dungeness crab, halibut, calamari, large sea scallops and East Coast whole Maine Lobster. This massive feast also features tomato, onion, peppers, red potatoes, and warm loaves of the market’s famous garlic bread. To put things into perspective, this behemoth can easily feed between 80 to 100 people.
Photo: Courtesy of Port of LA
So, if you and 100 of your closest friends think you can put a dent in one of the most insane seafood platters ever, you better let San Pedro Fish Market know you’re coming. The new Super Tray XXXL will run you minimally $1200, and depending on the fish, can cost over $3000 (like ours did). Mike Ungaro, Principal of San Pedro Fish Market explained that there’s a bit of preparation time to ensure availability for a platter of this size.
If you’re looking to feed an army, the restaurant recommends calling at least three days ahead of time so they can gather the perfect tray of fish, as well as add any modifications and special requests that need to be accommodated.
Summer has just begun, which means there’s plenty of time to get the seafood squad together for some Super Tray XXXL savagery. So, start sending out your invites, and prepare for long summer nights at San Pedro Fish Market with the Super Tray XXXL, Corona Extra on draft, and perfect views of the water.
Created in partnership with our friends at Corona Extra
The world discovered The Kings Of Fi$h, the family dynasty behind the famous San Pedro Fish Market and Restaurant, in February earlier this year after FOODBEAST debuted Kings Of Fi$h Seasons One and Two. It gave viewers a first-hand look into the day-to-day lives of the Ungaro and Amalfitano families, as they operate the largest fish market on the West Coast.
On the outside, it may seem like the Kings of Fi$h have it all figured out, having pioneered a family legacy in the seafood industry and creating The World’s Largest Shrimp Tray — which actually shut down freeway off-ramps into the port of Long Beach, due to the massive influx of folks wanting to try it.
As we saw in first two seasons of KOF, replacing Tommy proved to be more difficult than working with him, and the stark reality of keeping one of Southern California’s most recognizable port-side seafood restaurants afloat set in.
As Kings Of Fi$h Season 3 gets underway, the KOF crew will work to improve marketing for their frozen consumer product, as well as endeavoring to expand their reach in the fast-casual industry.
Will the push for seafood supremacy dethrone the current Kings Of Fi$h? Tune in every Friday for a brand new episode of Kings Of Fi$h Season 3. Or, if you need to catch up on past episodes, or just to binge watch, all KOF episodes can be found on their FOODBEAST SHOW PAGE, YouTube and Facebook.
Now that you’re finally done binge watching FOODBEAST’s new reality series, Kings Of Fi$h Seasons One and Two, you’re probably wondering what’s coming next.
As KOF: Season 2 of comes to a close, we’re left to question the preparedness of Mike, Tommy Jr., Henry, and Jennifer, as they are tasked with motivating the younger generation to become apprentices of the family trade.
Now that we’ve gotten a closer look at the inter-personal relationships between the members of the Ungaro and Amalfitanofamilies, it’s evident that trying to maintain full-managerial responsibility of the San Pedro Fish Market and Restaurant without the guidance of Tommy “The Boss”Amalfitano is harder than expected. It’s easy to see that after Tommy’s retirement became a reality, there was still a strong sense of denial about his 54-year tenure coming to an end.
Meanwhile, as Mike and Henry had individual plans of taking control over the family business — neither seemed to put forth the focused initiative to right the ship and concentrate on other projects. Essentially, as soon as Tommy Sr. retired, both Mike and Henry took mini-vacations. Could this be indicative of how serious they really are about wanting to step up as boss?
While Henry was out in the desert being an outdoorsy-daredevil, Mike was in Las Vegas, socializing and trying to complete a commercial for the Frozen Shrimp Tray product. While there’s nothing wrong with fun and games, Tommy “The Boss”Amalfitano unexpectedly returns from a vacation to Mt. Fuji and was livid to see how thinly staffed Henry and Mike had left the market.
Future success of California’s greatest seafood dynasty hangs in the balance here. The Kings Of Fi$h could arguably be the best franchise in seafood, but will they step up to the challenge?
It’s safe to say that even though the San Pedro Fish Market and Restaurant has become an iconic business within the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles proper, that does not make this family business immune to failure. Fortunately, family patriarch Tommy Sr. was keen to the instability among the staff without his guidance and may have prolonged his permanent retirement — for now. As FOODBEAST’s Kings Of Fi$h series progresses, there is sure to be more family quarrels, as competing ideas about what it will take to keep this legendary business afloat are brought to the surface.
And it’s not even summer, yet.
If you haven’t already, catch up on KOF: Season 2 by watching the episodes below, or swing by our YouTube and Facebook pages to watch both full seasons back-to-back.