RESTAURANTS

Boston Fish is gone, but Bostons has opened, and The Fish is in the works

Lenore Zoll carries a tray of lobster tail at Boston Fish Seafood Market and Restaurant in Cedar Rapids on Feb. 14, 2018
Lenore Zoll carries a tray of lobster tail at Boston Fish Seafood Market and Restaurant in Cedar Rapids on Feb. 14, 2018. (The Gazette)
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Boston Fish Seafood Market and Restaurant closed in May, but two new ventures are seeking to carry on that business’s 77-year legacy.

After months of renovations, Bostons opened Tuesday in the space at 804 Fifth St. SE, Cedar Rapids, with a revamped menu and the tagline “Evolving since 1942.”

Meanwhile, Lenore Zoll, former manager of Boston Fish, is starting her own business, The Fish “carrying on the traditions of the original Boston Fish.”

Lenore’s aunt and uncle, Suzette and Joseph Zoll, had owned Boston Fish since they purchased it in 1992. After Suzette Zoll died in 2017, Joseph ran it with Lenore’s help until he sold it to restaurant developer Kory Nanke last year. Nanke hired the family team of Rob Bly and his sons Jerrad and Ryne to run it. The Blys also run Nanke’s restaurant Midtown Station.

Lenore Zoll said she was originally slated to continue managing the business, but after disagreements about the direction of the restaurant decided to start her own independent business. She began with catering over the holidays, filling orders for oysters and seafood platters.

“So many people have been getting oysters from us for the holidays. I started calling everybody who had been ordering fish from me for the last few years and asked them if they wanted to place orders,” she said. “I just appreciate the community support; it’s amazing. It’s really neat how much this place meant to people and that I can keep it going.”

Originally she planned a food truck, but is now considering a brick and mortar location, which she hopes to have open for Lent. She wasn’t ready to say where the new restaurant would be located.

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At Bostons, Ryne Bly said, “We tried to keep a lot of the classics, but we twisted them to make them our own.”

The menu features seafood like fish and chips, a cod sandwich, po boy sandwiches, fish tacos, calamari, clam chowder and more. It also has a “land lovers” section with dishes like prime rib and Cajun grilled chicken.

“The idea is to have something everybody would want to eat, not just seafood,” Jerrad Bly said.

He said they are listening to feedback and taking requests for additions to the menu, and the restaurant would run specials to see what additional menu items were popular.

“People have requested clam strips. Just about every customer,” he said.

He said people are also asking for hush puppies, another menu item from the old Boston Fish, and lake fish like trout, “But it’s not the right season for that.”

For now, Bostons is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday, for lunch only, with a limited menu. They plan to expand to supper in a couple of weeks.

He said the restaurant sources seafood from Boston, which is flown into Chicago several times a week.

Nanke and the Blys will open a second restaurant, Red Clover Deli, in the space next to Bostons later this year, which will offer catering, grab-and-go food and quick lunches.

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Taking over a long-standing brand like Boston Fish hasn’t been easy, Jerrad Bly said, as they try to keep old fans happy while offering their own vision.

“It’s kind of intimidating,” he said. “People have a lot of expectations coming in here.”

Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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