A commercial fisherman by trade, Mike Sarapochillo began his commercial fishing career in Point Pleasant in 2004, and over the span of a decade built his fleet to three commercial fishing boats, distributing and wholesaling, and ultimately taking that hard work and history to a storefront in the community.
WELCOME TO ATLANTIC OFFSHORE FISHERY
According to Sarapochillo, Atlantic Offshore Fishery is very diversified — fishing for scallops, tuna, swordfish, mahi, monkfish, fluke and flounder and distributing and wholesaling to other wholesalers as well as the general public.
“So I decided to put a roof over our head and then take it to the retail side with a kitchen to be able to bring the public a fresher, little bit cheaper product,” he said.
A year and a half ago, Sarapochillo left the ocean to concentrate on managing the fleet and the wholesale business, which he expanded, and built the facility where the fishery remains today on Channel Drive in Point Pleasant Beach.
“We hold 25,000 pounds of live lobsters and crabs,” he said. “So we distribute live lobsters and crabs to other wholesalers and to other restaurants out of this building on top of other fresh, local seafood that we produce.”
This summer the facility opened up its doors as a restaurant as well and the Atlantic Offshore Fishery was born. According to Sarapochillo, the fishery will wholesale whatever is in season for catching and anything else will be brought in from other local wholesalers or fishermen.
“At the restaurant we try to cook and serve what we produce at hopefully a little bit better quality for a little bit better price,” he said. The decision to open the restaurant was an outgrowth of the wholesale operation.
Sarapochillo explained that they decided they might as well offer some fish to the public and then see what would come from it.
“Then we found a really good cook who owned a restaurant in town and he approached us with an idea. ‘If you could get me some fresh fish I would be willing to start up a restaurant,’ he said.”
For this aspect of the business, he partnered with his family. According to Sarapochillo, his aunt runs the market, his cousin and sister work in the market along with his mother, and his father works at the wholesale alongside him.
“So it just became a big family business and, yeah, we’re excited to expand and excited to keep the customers pleased with local product,” he added.
Atlantic Offshore Fishery is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for dine-in or take out.
“So we’re planning on staying open seven days a week and the boats fish all year long, so as long as the boats are fishing, we’re going to stay open,” he explained. “Basically we do a lot of specials with what we’re producing more of to try and help the consumer out.”
Sarapochillo explained this means if something is in season or there is an abundance of it, they are able to cut some prices and run specials.
The menu at Atlantic Offshore Fishery ranges from soups, salads and platters to sandwiches, po’ boys and tacos.
“My personal favorite dish is the scallop po’ boy,” he shared. “Our signature dishes here are grilled mahi tacos, lobster tacos, our lobster egg rolls are becoming one of our most popular things here.”
Whether dining in or taking out, Atlantic Offshore Fishery is dedicated to providing you with the freshest fish, finest ingredients and affordable prices. While the restaurant doors opened mere months ago, Sarapochillo explained business has been picking up pretty steadily.
For Atlantic Offshore Fishery the future is bright and full of growth.
“We’ll always be looking to expand on the wholesale/restaurant, looking to produce more seating for the local seafood lovers and seafood people out there who want to come any time of the year to have fresh fish,” he said.
The restaurant is currently a very casual establishment and Sarapochillo explains they want to stay with that, while also adding more inside seating and expand in the existing building.
“ … I’m a commercial fisherman and we thrive on local New Jersey sustainable fish that we try to produce,” said Sarapochillo. “We don’t believe in anything farm raised and we don’t sell anything that’s farm raised.”