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THE FISH TALE…

On 29 November 1951, Anthony Aguanno took his $200 and lots of ambition and decided to start a fish business.  Tony had experience as a butcher, but even that could not have prepared him for what lay ahead.  His dedication, strong work ethic, and determination – combined with a little bit of luck – got his business off the ground.  Tony quickly learned the ins and outs of the Fulton Fish Market in New York City, where his children still go in the early morning to buy fresh fish.  Denville Seafood’s first location was on Main Street in Denville.  The business was very successful, and not even one month after Tony’s marriage to Ann, in 1952, Denville Seafood made the short move to today’s location at 61 Broadway.

 

Since that time, Denville Seafood survived a fire in January of 1979, after which the business closed for repairs for 10 weeks.  During the rebuilding, Tony expanded the “fish market” to include a restaurant as well, eventually initiating Denville’s growing trend of outside dining.

 

Tony put in decades of hard work, and still comes to the store in the mornings to fillet fish.  His children, Mary, Joe, and Amy, all strive to carry on the success of their father by bringing in only the freshest fish and doing all they can to satisfy the customers. They know it won’t be easy to carry on the Denville Seafood tradition, but with a bit of the same luck and a lot of hard work, it is far from impossible. 

 

November of 2001 was bittersweet for the Aguanno family and Denville Seafood.  In November, Denville Seafood celebrated a milestone – its golden, 50th anniversary.  The family had grown, so it was only appropriate for the “fish store” to follow suit with another expansion.  The seven-table dining area tripled in size, allowing for a more elaborate menu and more comfortable dining room.  As per tradition, the outside café was open throughout the summer months, and the market continued to still sell only the freshest fish.  

 

Unfortunately, the family faced a change when they lost their “golden girl.”  Sadly, Ann Aguanno passed away just days before the expansion was complete.  The family honored her role as cofounder and “Codmother” of the restaurant, a loving member to her family, and a friend to all of Denville.  From her inspiration, they renamed the restaurant, Codmother’s Café.

 

November of 2005 brought along another change.  The Fulton Fish Market in New York City moved to The New Fulton Fish Market, located at Hunt’s Point in the Bronx.  The new refrigerated facility helps to ensure that the customers get only the freshest fish possible.  The commute changed, the freshness of the product improved but, mostly, for Denville Seafood and Codmother’s Café, it was business as usual.

 

Recently, Mother Nature forced the Aguanno family, along with many other Denville business owners and residents, into another expansion.  Hurricane Irene hit the town with flooding never before experienced.  Denville Seafood’s market area swam in 3 ½ feet of water for two days, beginning a shut down that hit them to the core.  59 Broadway, where the restaurant is located, is one of the oldest buildings in town, a fact that became perfectly clear during the rebuild.  The structure was compromised so much by the flood waters, that the building, starting from the foundation, could not be repaired.  It had to be completely reconstructed.

 

The silver lining was that the market was redone and the dining room was redesigned.  255 days after Hurricane Irene, came the grand re-opening.

 

Thank you to everyone who has helped support Denville Seafood through the good times and bad, especially during the recent renovations.  Specifically, we are grateful for the workers who have been hammering nails (among a zillion other things!), Cynthia from Eastern Design Group who created a gorgeous interior, and you customers who awaited the restaurant while continuing to buy the fish.  It has been a pleasure to serve the community for the past 63 years.  The family looks forward to many more.