Do you want to know how to beat the line at ACME Fish Fridays? The answer is just join it. According to Peter, a monthly regular for the past five years, “There’s no rhyme or reason to the line. I’ve come here at different times, on days I figured would be slow, and it’s still a 30-40 minute wait. Sometimes you get lucky and you can sail right through.” He says his rosary while on line to pass the time. He comes from Middle Village Queens, and has no complaint about the wait. He said the toughest thing was finding parking.
There are 3 different stages to the line. Part one you see from the exterior, this is the end of the line which goes east along Gem street a block or two, more or less. You reach level two when you get inside the warehouse. Then when you get to the menu board, you’re on the brink of the final stage, you’re nearly at nova nirvana. This is inside the refrigerated room. Bring a sweater, or layers even. The last ten to fifteen minutes can get chilly.
ACME Smoked Fish has had Fish Fridays for 37 years. Gary Brownstein, grandson of the founder (a fisherman who “came off the boat” in 1902 and opened up shop 4 years later) has worked at ACME since 1967. He is constantly thinking up creative ways to feature his fish and each Friday there’s a Gary’s Special. This Friday’s was a Peach Bourbon smoked salmon. After smoked fish hit the supermarkets and the general public was introduced, the market opened up beyond the immigrant Polish and Jewish communities. Fish Fridays gets bigger each year; Brownstein says he sells on average 4000 pounds or two truckloads.
Fish Fridays at ACME Smoked Fish. (30 Gem Street | Just off North 15th). It’s the only day they sell wholesale to the public. Starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. (Cash Only)