From Deck to Doorstep
Ocean’s Table Aims to Transform Seafood Delivery
When it comes to healthy eating, nobody should have to give up flavor or quality. These traits, along with freshness, are the top priorities at Ocean’s Table, a Gloucester-based company that delivers seafood from the fishing boat to your address within hours after being unloaded off the boat.
Ocean’s Table began in 2018, when Nick Mammola and Lou Imbriano, the founders of digital marketing agency Tentacle, approached Kristian Kristensen, who was running the Cape Ann Seafood Exchange, with an idea for a seafood subscription service.
“We thought: Wouldn’t it be great if we could create this company that delivered fresh fish directly from the ocean to somebody’s table in 24 hours? Because you can’t get that anywhere unless you’re a fisherman,” says Imbriano, co-owner of Ocean’s Table. “I wanted to know if it was possible to take the product, make sure the integrity of its freshness remains constant, and be able to deliver this all over the East Coast.”
After experimenting, they came up with a way to preserve the fish without freezing it or requiring the use of preservatives. Once off the boat, the fish are filleted, packed in a vacuum-sealed bag and placed in a saltwater slurry that can keep the fish cool at 28 F.
In what soon became an easy business marriage, Kristensen and his team worked on fish operations while Mammola and Imbriano tackled the business modeling, branding and packaging. Ocean’s Table initially tested their subscription model service in late 2018, intending to ship to customers up and down the East Coast. Their focus was “no stores, no middlemen, no hassle,” and they worked directly with the captain of each fishing boat.
“One of the most important food items in which freshness is paramount is fish,” says Mammola, also co-owner and financial business manager of Ocean’s Table. “When you look at the traditional supply chain of retail distribution with the number of so-called vendors in the middle, not only does the conventional supply process delay the product getting to the consumer, but it also affects the freshness. We saw this as an opportunity in the marketplace to be able to put the highest quality, freshest fish possible on the table.”
Consuming fresh fish has numerous health benefits. Many fish are high in essential nutrients such as protein, vitamin D, vitamin B2, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital to brain health and development. Studies have also shown that consuming seafood lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
To promote their mission and the health of their customers, Ocean’s Table partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBS), providing exclusive offers to their insured members.
“Fish is highly recommended as a healthy food item for avoiding heart disease and other illnesses thanks to vitamins and fish oils,” Mammola says. “The health benefits of fish are so widely documented that we approached BCBS because we saw us as a perfect complement to their mission of promoting health and wellness.”
In addition to providing customers with fresh, never-frozen fish, Ocean’s Table also makes each delivery feel personal, always including information on where the fish was caught, and the names of the boat and captain.
“People are not interested in just the meal; they’re interested in the story,” Imbriano says.
“It truly enforces that this is from the ocean to your table,” Mammola adds.
Ocean’s Table designed different subscription packages for customers, such as the Fisherman’s Choice, which includes flounder, haddock, pollock and redfish, and the Captain’s Select, which includes halibut, sea bass, swordfish and tuna.
For seafood skeptics who worry about the preservation of the fish when it isn’t frozen, Imbriano debunks what he sees as one of the most common myths about fish consumption.
“The biggest myth that I encounter is that fish is toxic; meaning that if you have it longer than a day or two and you don’t eat it right away it’s bad for you. That’s simply untrue,” he says. “If you handle the fish correctly and handle it at the proper temperature, a fish’s freshness can last four to five days later. It’s all about how you refrigerate and keep it.”
“The flavor of fresh fish is undeniable. When you freeze it the wrong way, that flavor dissipates and it becomes more bland,” Mammola adds. “It doesn’t have the same robust flavor as fresh fish.”
Mammola and Imbriano each have their own seafood preferences. For Mammola, it’s haddock with a little seasoning, breadcrumbs on top, and spinach on the side. For Imbriano, it’s halibut and scallops, sauteed with garlic, oil, butter and parsley. He notes that fresh scallops are especially good either scampi style or seared.
“The best part about what I believe Ocean’s Table is all about, is that the fish is so fresh and so tasty that you never get a complaint on the quality of the fish,” Imbriano says. “The fish is always beautiful.”
Ready to go fresh?
Ocean’s Table offers numerous delivery meal options on their website, OceansTable.com. Packages include Fisherman’s Choice (flounder, haddock, pollock, redfish), Captain’s Select (halibut, sea bass, swordfish, tuna) and Healthy Haddock.
Can’t decide? You can also opt for their tasting sampler.
That’s not all you’ll find. OceansTable.com is also a great source for recipes, including:
• Fish tacos with lime crema
• Cajun mahi mahi
• Fried sole with lemon
• Crab stuffed portobellos