Moby Dick

Figurines on counter at Captain Jim's in Rochester, New York

I’m happy to report our old neighborhood is really coming up. Not that there is anywhere to go. Beechwood is mostly single family, four-square homes built in the early part of the last century. When we moved there in ’78 it even had its own post office on Culver near Main. We identified the triangle between Main, Merchants and Winton as affordable and stable and looked at only a handful of houses there before making an offer on Hall Street. Our realtor, my uncle, suggested we go in at $20,000, two thousand below the asking price, and they accepted it.

We stopped in Captain Jim’s on Friday and picked up a fish fry to go. That place is exactly the same. Jim’s mom still lurks in the dining room. I took this photo there. This Moby Dick-like drama was playing out on the counter while we waited for our order. Coincidentally, our neighbor on Hall Street looks just like one of these guys.

It only took forty years or so but there’s now many more restaurants, bars, a barbecue joint and a micro brewery. Of course, there were plenty of places to get a fish fry back then. This has always been Rochester. Club Soda, at the corner of Hall Street and Main, was called My Brother’s Place back then and they had a pretty good one. Carroll’s Irish bar had one. Fleckenstein’s Meat Market turned into a Greek fish store and people lined up for their fish fry and that was when Captain Jim’s opened.

He put the others right out of business. He runs a tight ship. His coleslaw is top notch and the secret with the fish is – you gotta eat it when it’s hot and after the first few bites you’re best off picking the fish out of the breading.

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