Andrade’s Catch Market Makes Local Seafood More Accessible

The Andrade family expanded the market by adding more work and retail space, while continuing to work directly with local fishermen for over thirty-six years.
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Victoria and Davy Andrade of Andrade’s Catch.

On a late-summer weekday afternoon, the phone rings inside Andrade’s Catch seafood market in Bristol, and a customer is on the line, thinking about what to prepare for dinner that night. A photograph from the late ’80s of David Andrade holding a bull rake in the shop rests on the office desk.

“We just had a few fishermen come in with littlenecks. I believe they dropped off twenty pounds, so we’re definitely well stocked,” says Andrade’s staff member Victoria Andrade to the caller, her short bob cut tucked under a ball cap.

She pauses and listens for a few seconds then responds to a question about the local oyster varieties they have in stock. “We have Walrus and Carpenter Dutchies and Originals right now.”

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The shellfish case filled with local oysters and clams at Andrade’s Catch.

Victoria says, “Thank you,” and hangs up the phone, hoping to see the customer later that day. Meanwhile the doorbell at the back door repeatedly rings, with more fishermen and staff entering the market to count clams or weigh other arrivals of fresh seafood.

Victoria — or Vic as she prefers — has been working alongside her husband, Davy Andrade, at his family business since the start of the pandemic, sort of as the store’s jack of all trades. Part manager, part social media and marketing expert, she also gets hands on with the product, working with customers out front in sales. It’s an intriguing turn of events for a one-time pastry chef who worked at Cafe Boulud in New York City and Noma in Copenhagen. She also gained retail experience working with Jan Dane at Stock Culinary Goods in Providence, and more recently, she ran an ice cream shop serving her own ice cream, which closed several years ago. After she met Davy, and they got married, her career took a different path.

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Andrade’s Catch in Bristol.

“The restaurant experience really comes in handy with knowing proper sanitation and safety, sense of urgency and working with a team,” Vic says. “My baking skills have also come in handy, coming up with processes and formulas, and staying organized. And my time at Stock really inspired me to grow the pantry area.”

“I think this is the job I never thought I would do, but was meant to do,” she says. “Like all of the weird jobs I have done over the years, the skills have all consolidated into this perfect thing.”

And business is growing. Davy’s dad, David Andrade, founded Andrade’s Catch around 1987 when he was in his early twenties with his wife, Gigi, Davy’s mom. David was a fisherman back then, hauling in quahogs on his boat with a thirty-foot rake by day and delivering product by afternoon. “He started quahogging when he was seventeen and they bought this place when he was twenty-two or twenty-three and he already had two kids,” says Davy. Gigi had been working at a diner making fish and chips, so they decided to open their own spot serving prepared foods like fish and chips and fried clams, and they lived in the apartment in the back.

“When we were little, our first job was going on the boat with him, picking,” Davy says. “We wouldn’t really get paid. If he had a good day, he’d take us out for ice cream. And we were happy with that.”

When Davy was eight, he was tasked with making coleslaw for $7 an hour, standing on a milk crate. He worked with quahoggers from the time he was twelve, and as soon as he got his license, he started making deliveries.

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Old photographs of the Andrade family are displayed on the walls.

While they now only stick to selling fresh seafood, the original model for the store still exists.

“We buy from twenty to thirty local fishermen in peak season. Everything we can get locally, we do. We buy hardshell clams from local fishermen year-round. They come right off the boat and show up with their catch,” Vic says. “We sort by size and that’s how they get paid. We are one of the only places that pay on the spot. Some guys fished with Dave when he was fishing. They have been coming to us for so long and we want to take care of them.”

The couple show off the new addition to the back room of the market where fishermen arrive and deliver their catch each day (and sometimes stay to schmooze over coffee and doughnuts). “This room is originally where me and my sisters grew up. This used to be our dining room, this was our kitchen. There was a bedroom here,” Davy says, pointing at the various spaces. “Our parents would be out there serving fish and they’d be able to walk in the back and we’d be on the couch watching cartoons.”

In the front of the back room is a giant scale where team members weigh whole tuna and striped sea bass. There are stainless steel tables for cleaning and breaking down fish like sea bass, scup and tautog. They bring in mahi, codfish, salmon and other species they can’t get locally, six days a week from New Bedford. There’s a side room for shucking shellfish. All the way in the back is a modern machine that sorts and counts clams by size. The expansion of the market has allowed them the space to do more, including the retail shelves out front.

Vic also built the market’s modern website for pre-ordering seafood (though it’s still cash only, so customers still pay on site. There’s an ATM in the market for convenience). She handles social media and marketing, and helped expand the front area of the shop into a retail market with cooking products, ingredients, equipment and Andrade’s Catch swag like t-shirts, hats, oyster shuckers and more. They are really into promoting tinned fish, including traditional Portuguese and Spanish varieties and trendier products like Fish Wife.

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The retail section at Andrade’s Catch.

“She’s really transformed the front and made it better than anything I could have imagined,” Davy says. “I really think my mom would be proud. And I know my dad is proud. He says it every day. He’s an old-school fisherman so he’s not too keen on change but when he sees something working well and sees the long-term idea of it, he’s getting really excited.”

Davy’s dad is still very active in the business, handling the wholesale operation. Over thirty years ago, he took on Al Forno as an account, and Hemenway’s has been a client for twenty-five years. Both still work with Andrade’s Catch, as well as newer restaurants like Bywater, Hunky Dory and Pizza Marvin.

“My dad does 120 miles a day in deliveries. He’s our main salesman right now for wholesale. He contacts all our big buyers in Boston and New York,” Davy says. “I’ll handle most of the local restaurants like East Bay, Providence, and a few places on the West Bay as well.”

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The seafood selection at Andrade’s Catch includes local black sea bass, bluefish, sea scallops and more.

The couple plans to keep Andrade’s Catch in their future and hopefully own it themselves someday. “There’s nothing I can see myself doing other than this,” Davy says. “I think about me and Vic working here, and I remember times when my parents were here doing things and it’s rewarding being able to take something that I’ve grown up seeing and putting our own twist on things.”

186 Wood St., Bristol, 401-253-4529,


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