Atlanta Orders In: Kathleen’s Catch reels in fish-loving patrons during pandemic

Kathleen's Catch offers a variety of high-quality fish and seafood. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
Kathleen's Catch offers a variety of high-quality fish and seafood. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Brookhaven location now open for growing family-run seafood market

The pandemic has fed the nation’s growing appetite for fish. That’s been a boon for local businesses like Kathleen’s Catch.

“People were starting to cook at home and looking for interesting things to prepare, especially when there wasn’t any meat,” owner and fishmonger Kathleen Hulsey said. “People came from all over to buy fish.”

Sales at her stores in Johns Creek and Milton quadrupled. And, as luck would have it, the company was prepared to handle online orders, thanks to a technology upgrade that it had rolled out just a few months before COVID-19 hit.

Hulsey and her daughter, Sara Waterman, the company’s general manager, hadn’t planned to open a third location, but seafood sales have spiked so much that she decided to cast a net in Brookhaven. “When things just took off for us, I thought: This is the time to make another move,” Hulsey said.

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Kathleen's Catch recently opened a location in Brookhaven, and also operates stores in Johns Creek and Milton. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
Kathleen's Catch recently opened a location in Brookhaven, and also operates stores in Johns Creek and Milton. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Located at 3436 Clairmont Road, near the intersection with Buford Highway, the Brookhaven shop unlocked its doors March 20. “It was a big weekend,” Hulsey said of those busy opening days. “It was wonderful.”

Customers came for wild pink shrimp, caught off the coast of Key West, Florida. They came for Canadian black mussels and James River oysters, for whole red snapper, red grouper fillets and the day’s featured fish — flounder.

Hulsey established her business in 2011, with the goal of providing high-quality fish and seafood. When customers pepper her with questions about the seafood industry, she’s ready with answers. “Farmed versus wild is a huge thing, if someone is going to think about sustainability and the quality of the fish,” she said. “The No. 1 question is securing the supply of wild fish in the ocean. We have got to support aquaculture done correctly. I do have a soapbox when it comes to aquaculture, and its impact on the world’s oceans.”

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Kathleen Hulsey founded Kathleen's Catch in 2011, with the goal of providing high-quality fish and seafood. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
Kathleen Hulsey founded Kathleen's Catch in 2011, with the goal of providing high-quality fish and seafood. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

When it comes to farmed fish, Hulsey seeks species that are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones, and that swim in open ocean pens, as opposed to “an indoor, chemically-laden tank,” she said. “Fish like Verlasso salmon that comes from Patagonia — when you see pictures of the farm, it’s breathtaking. People have a vision of aquaculture as all on top of one another. The ones I look for are the ones that are the very best.”

Besides a wide selection of fresh and frozen, wild and farmed fish and seafood (with shipments arriving every day except Sundays), Kathleen’s sells a variety of prepared foods, including chowders, crabcakes, smoked trout dip, cocktail and mustard sauces, and tuna salad sandwiches. Its Catch to Go program features take-and-bake single-serving fish and seafood dinners that change weekly.

Kathleen's Catch offers take-and-bake single-serving fish and seafood dinners that change weekly. Pictured is honey jalapeno salmon, with black bean and corn salad over spinach. Courtesy of Kathleen's Catch
Kathleen's Catch offers take-and-bake single-serving fish and seafood dinners that change weekly. Pictured is honey jalapeno salmon, with black bean and corn salad over spinach. Courtesy of Kathleen's Catch

Credit: handout

Credit: handout

Slated to debut soon is a knuckle sandwich made from crab knuckle meat. And, when Hulsey can get her hands on fresh lobster meat, regulars line up for the shop’s highly popular lobster rolls. “I could make them with frozen, but they are not as good,” she said. She estimated the first shipment will arrive in four to six weeks.

Hulsey also has teamed up with Jonathan Beatty, who soon will leave his post as executive chef at Ecco to further beef up house-made offerings for Kathleen’s.

Lobster rolls are a popular seasonal item at Kathleen's Catch, and will return to the menu later this spring. Courtesy of Kathleen's Catch
Lobster rolls are a popular seasonal item at Kathleen's Catch, and will return to the menu later this spring. Courtesy of Kathleen's Catch

Credit: handout

Credit: handout

And, with a selection of wine, locally grown produce and recognized labels like Spotted Trotter charcuterie and Banner butter, Kathleen’s Catch is a veritable one-stop shop for finer at-home dining.

The Brookhaven location is the latest sign of the company’s growth and expansion, but it might not be the last. “I have a vision of a Kathleen’s Catch empire,” Husley said, when asked about future locations.

Get ready, Vinings. She might cast her rod in your direction next.

Kathleen’s Catch seafood market offers wine, locally grown produce, charcuterie, cheese and pantry products. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
Kathleen’s Catch seafood market offers wine, locally grown produce, charcuterie, cheese and pantry products. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

KATHLEEN’S CATCH

Menu: fresh and frozen raw fish and seafood; oven-ready meals; prepared soups, sandwiches and spreads; curated selection of local produce, pantry items and market goods

Alcohol: wine

What I ordered: honey jalapeno salmon, with black bean and corn salad over spinach; red grouper; smoked trout dip; frozen octopus. The Catch to Go salmon plate, which comes with cooking instructions, was an adequately sized portion of very fresh-tasting fish and a healthful side at a fair price ($14.99). The smoked trout dip made for a no-brainer appetizer. I tossed the frozen octopus in the freezer, and plan to give it a Galician-style tapas treatment.

Service options: carryout or delivery; order online, in person or via phone; curbside available upon request

Outdoor dining: no

Mask policy: required for all employees and customers

Address, phone: 3436 Clairmont Road, Brookhaven; 678-705-3761

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Website: kathleenscatch.com

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