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This is in honor of the now closed Wulf's Fish Market that was on Harvard St. in Brookline MA

Alan sold the business a few years ago. The new owner closed the market and opened a wholesale business on Boston's Fish Pier.

                                        Wulf's Fish Market: Very Fussy About Quality!

From 1988 to 1994, while I owned the Harvard Street Grill, I bought almost all of our fish at a small retail market across the street: Wulf's Fish Market. We were fortunate to be located so close to what many considered to be the best fish market in the Boston area. It was a wonderful arrangement because it allowed us to purchase absolutely fresh fish on a daily basis.

In 2010, my wife Bess and I paid a return visit to Wulf's. At that time, Wulf's was still the only fish market in the Boston area to cut fillets from whole fish; going to the fish pier at 4 AM every day but Sunday, when it is closed.

Visit to Wulf's Fish Market

(L-R) Cousin Richie, Alan WulfAlan (right) joined the family enterprise in 1968, and ran it with the help of his cousin Richie Taylor.

Beginning in 1926, when Sam Wulf bought Berger's Fish Market and truck, Wulf's Fish Market was in business on Harvard Street near Coolidge Corner in Brookline, MA, not far from Boston's Fenway Park. His son Alan joined the family enterprise in 1968, and ran it with the help of his cousin Richie, their expert buyer at the Fish Pier, and his son Andy, a high school teacher who helped out on weekends. Although bigger, fancier markets came along, Alan believed that a small market which bought and cut fish fresh daily offeed a higher quality product. "A small operation can be very fussy about quality". His loyal customers, many of whom shopped at Wulf's for decades, heartily agreed.

Unlike many operations, Wulf's bought only whole fish, and Alan and his staff did all of the cutting in the shop.

Maintaining such high quality would begin when Alan arrived at the shop by 5 am each day. Shortly after that, Richie would be at Boston's Fish Pier, perusing the offerings from boats, trucks and air, using his twenty-plus years of experience to discern the best buys. Wulf's bought 7 - 10,000 pounds of whole fish each week, and Richie was at the Pier every weekday whether or not they needed something--just so he wouldn't miss a great buy!

Cousin Richie
Richie Taylor, was the expert buyer at the Fish Pier, he was there every weekday whether or not they needed something--just so he didn't miss a great buy!

Unlike many operations these days, Wulf's bought only whole fish, and Alan and his staff did all of the cutting in the shop. Alan said: "I still do everything the way my father taught me; I'm stubborn that way, I just can't change." However, one of the changes he noted in recent years was how many customers came in who have no idea how to cook fish. Alan felt that one of the benefits of such a small operation was that they could take the time to talk to customers and teach cooking methods. "Baking is the easiest way to prepare fish. Once someone knows how to cook fish, they want to eat it more", said Alan. As he related this, a customer inquiring about crayfish was being helped by Andy, with Alan chiming in about storage and preparation of the crustaceans.

Wulf's

In the early days of the market, the neighborhood was one of large homes and large families. There were three or four fish markets, along with specialty butcher and grocery shops. In recent years, large homes have been split into apartments, and Wulf's was the lone market of its type in the area. Other changes over the years include the increase in fish prices, and the implication of that for family budgets. "When I started here in '68", Alan said, "Haddock filets went for 98 cents a pound. Today they're $8.98…if a family needs a couple of pounds for a meal, that could be twenty dollars." Of course, the issues of overfishing and the ensuing scarcity of species added to this situation: boats are only allowed to fish a set number of days each year. Combine this with the understanding that only about 33 to 60 percent of a fish can actually be used after cutting, and the economic implications are clear. Although Wulf's still tried to buy primarily domestic fish, it also offered choices from the vast array of products from around the world. Despite this, Alan said that, although customers were always looking for new, cheaper varieties, the most popular sellers continued to be the same over the years: salmon, cod, sole and flounder.

Some of the avaliable fresh seafood

The most popular sellers continue to be the same over the years: salmon, cod, sole and flounder.

If you didn’t live near enough to the Boston area to drive over to Wulf''s to shop for that night's dinner, how could you partake of their specialties? When asked if someone in Nebraska could call and have some fresh fish shipped, Alan shook his head and explained that there was no way to retain the freshness which he felt was essential. He reminded: "We cut just enough fish for each day--each day. That's when fish is best." Richie was overheard questioning Alan about shipping, Alan replied, "Well, maybe."

Alan Wulf

Wulf's Fish Market was located at 407 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA --- Now the location houses a dounut shop.
Why was Alan Wulf Smiling? Maybe it's because he is holding a Wolffish! or He's was just happy!