Man, you folks in the Highland Park/Oak Lawn area are in for a big treat once October 1 arrives. I know Nancy already reported earlier that Jon Alexis, the owner of TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market announced he’s opening a second location at 4212 Oak Lawn (which is right smack dab next to Julian Barsotti’s Italian market and restaurant, Carbone’s), but new details have called attention to the 1,636 square feet of space Alexis plans to creatively use.
Alexis excitedly tells me that he and Barsotti are conspiring to jointly work on cooking demos, classes, tasting menus, and special menus. “If you go to big cities, Italian markets and fish markets are natural neighbors. We haven’t committed to anything yet, but every time we talk we have ten ideas we want to do together.”
Luckily, the two peas in a pod have plenty of time to figure all that out. Alexis just signed a ten-year lease for the new TJ’s, which will be strikingly different from the old TJ’s. This one will have culinary-trained staff and chefs who’ll help cook your fish on the spot and write down instructions on how you can replicate the recipe at home, should you desire that. Alex also adds, “It’s a seafood market but with 24 seats. What we’re really excited about is the opportunity for people to eat at TJ’s prepared dine-in section.”
Jump if you like seafood as much as Jon Alexis.
The fishmonger plans on having a rotating menu of ceviches and installing an oyster bar that’ll feature both raw and cooked oysters. Even though the new TJ’s seems more chef-driven, Alexis quickly kills that idea. He calls it “fish-driven.”