One Brooklyn restaurant owner and chef is looking to make buying and preparing fish a lot easier for New Yorkers.
Through the market, Haraguchi plans to sell high-quality domestic East Coast seasonal seafood to the community, while also offering the knowledge needed to prepare each kind of product at home.
“My intention before even starting Okonomi was to find a way to showcase the underutilized seafood from the Atlantic Ocean,” Haraguchi said.
He added that before introducing customers to the whole fish, he had to first showcase the different meals that could be prepared with the variety of fish through dishes at his restaurant.
Then through the years, customers began asking where they could purchase the fish offered at Okonomi and that’s when the “natural progression” of creating the market began.
According to the Japanese chef, the mission of the market — which will be called Osakana, meaning “honor your fish” — will be to help connect New Yorkers with local fish and give more diversity to their meal options at home.
“We’re trying to build a bridge between New York City customers and the Atlantic Ocean,” he said. “New York City is a seafood town and that’s what we are trying to tell people.”
Along with offering a wide variety of domestic American fish — prepared in a Japanese style — customers will be shown how to clean and cut the fish and fish will be prepared individually for customers each day.
The Osakana market will also offer a community space where people will be able to go and participate in discussions, meals, tastings and classes.
“Not many people talk about how to cut the fish, how to clean it. So much happens before you cook the fish,” Haraguchi said. “We are going to take it one step at a time.”
The chef added that normally when customers purchase fish they only get a small portion of the actual whole fish, with a large percentage of the animal being thrown out.
As part of the market, customers will learn how to utilize the “extra parts” of the fish so nothing goes to waste.
“You are missing so much. People don’t know what is being thrown away,” Haraguchi said. “ You are paying for the whole fish, but you don’t get the whole fish.”
He also said that he would also like the market to be a place where fishermen flock to because they will feel a sense of pride on the way the fish are showcased at Osakana.
In order to fund the market, Haraguchi has turned to Kickstarter as a method to get the community involved in the creation of Osakana. He said it is a way for customer appreciation to be seen before the market is even opened.
Although the goal for the campaign is $50,000 — of which over $30,000 has already been pledged — any additional contributions will go towards adding a ramen bar to the location and also building out the kitchen.
“I’m just excited to see how many more customers that we don’t know see how important and necessary this is,” he said. “ We are going to take care of each customer differently, depending on their comfort with the fish.”
To donate to the Osakana Kickstarter campaign, click here.