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.
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,
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
it was business as usual.
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
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.