For 20 years, the South Bethany Seafood Market has been outfitting dinner tables throughout the community with some of the freshest seafood available, and, somehow, people are still just finding out about them. Since acquiring the carry-out hotspot in the South Bethany Seaside Village Shopping Center six years ago, owners Andrew and Zea Keiper have been turning customers onto one of the area’s best-kept secrets.
“We see a lot of new customers every year,” said Andrew Keiper, who was the market’s fish supplier for eight years before he took it over in 2005, “and we have a very strong base of regulars, too. There are people who came in for their seafood from the previous owners and still come back each year with us.”
Among the market’s top catches are fresh swordfish, salmon, tuna and flounder, but the menu doesn’t stop there. Lump crabcakes, wild-caught shrimp, shellfish, rotisserie chickens and gourmet filet mignons are available, as well as heavy Maryland crabs by the half-dozen, dozen or bushel.
Side orders, including fresh, local corn-on-the-cob, homemade potato and macaroni salads and cole slaw can complement a meal, while shrimp or tuna salad can pair up nicely with a cup of South Bethany Seafood Market’s fresh soups for a one-of-a-kind lunch. Seafood is available live, steamed or grilled to order.
“We’ve really come a long way since taking over,” said Andrew Keiper. “We even carry fresh fruit pies and homemade cakes and cupcakes for dessert. I like to think of us as your one-stop shop when you’re entertaining friends and family.” Smith Island cakes and freshly baked pies can cap a delicious meal.
With Keiper’s frequent trips to the Philadelphia Seafood Market, often four to five times a week, customers stopping into South Bethany Seafood know that they are getting the freshest cuts available.
“We draw from as many local fishermen as we can,” assured Andrew Keiper. “A lot of our flounder and sword come from right off this coast. I work closely with local watermen, but a successful fish market in the Mid-Atlantic region can’t sustain on local fisheries alone, year-round.” For times when a desired item isn’t available locally, the Philadelphia Seafood Market serves as the region’s chief seafood hub and pulls in catches from New England southward.
The South Bethany Seafood Market, tucked beside Subway in the shopping center, is easily overlooked, but even those who haven’t stopped may have tasted some of the fresh seafood that Keiper finds. His distribution company, Sea Eagle LLC, provides seafood to more than a dozen restaurants from Berlin and West Ocean City, Md., to Rehoboth Beach, including popular local locations such as Mango’s and Blue Coast in Bethany Beach.
“We go directly to them,” said Zea Keiper, “so people still experience the flavor and the freshness. If they want to bring that taste home, they can come here, pick it up and bring it into their own kitchen.”
One of the season’s most popular sellers at South Bethany Seafood has returned with Fish Taco Tuesdays, which features two fresh fish tacos, with fixings and a side of black bean corn salad, for $8.95 every Tuesday in the summer. This year, the market has also introduced their sesame seared tuna meal – thinly sliced sushi-grade tuna prepared fresh, with seaweed salad, pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce, for $9.95.
While the summer season is getting in full swing, the staff at the South Bethany Seafood Market will keep busy. Meanwhile, the business is now looking to cater to the local crowd during the offseason, as well.
Starting in October, locals who still want that fresh seafood on their table don’t have to look any further. The market will offer “Fresh Fish Fridays” starting this fall.
Customers on an email contact list can receive an email blast of the available catches and costs per pound. They simply need to respond back by Thursday with an order and pick up their seafood between 2 and 6 p.m. that Friday afternoon. Shrimp, clams, scallops, mussels, oysters, crab cakes, lobster and soup will also be available during the off-season’s “Fresh Fish Fridays.”
“We’re tucked away here,” said Zea Keiper. “Lots of people still drive past us, and every season, we have customers who have been coming to the area for years just finding out about us. Fortunately, once they come here, they keep coming back.”
The South Bethany Seafood Market is currently open seven days a week, from noon until 8 p.m. Visit www.southbethanyseafood.com for a complete menu or to join the market’s email contact list. Call (302) 537-1332 to place an order. Orders should be placed early in the day to ensure availability.