After five years, MediterraFish is closing its current location in Mosaic and moving about a mile away to another retail development: Halstead Square.
“We’ve been working on this for years, but we didn’t have the luxury to close the store and renovate,” says Tuba Sapanli, who owns the 900-square-foot fish market with her husband, Bilge. When the lease ends later this month, MediterraFish will double in space, welcoming a restaurant and enough retail to take up about a third of the 2,000-square-foot space. But the plan is even more ambitious than that.
MediterraFish will also offer more ready-to-cook items, like premarinated surf-and-turf packages (steak and scallops or protein-packed stir fry), cooking classes, catering, home delivery and, probably the most ambitious project, entering into the meal kits sector. Sapanli plans for a limited distribution to start, about a 3-mile radius for delivery, and will offer easy oven- or skillet-ready meals with little prep work needed. Her recipes include branzino, packaged with spices, lemon and parchment paper for a trip in the oven, with a simple arugula salad; a lemon-butter salmon with asparagus; and Parmesan-crusted cod with a vegetable mix of artichokes, peppers and asparagus.
The restaurant will take on a Turkish slant, a tribute to the couple’s homeland. There will be Turkish shepherd’s salad, with finely chopped tomato, cucumber, arugula, parsley and feta in lemony dressing, and a tabbouleh with quinoa. Fish, in preparations with a light touch, will make up a large portion of the menu. “We try to make everything as simple as possible because we want people to really taste the fish,” says Sapanli. Proposed dishes include fried anchovies and sardines, fish and chips, lots of simply grilled options and for the kids: baked, boneless strips of fish and mini Turkish meatballs. She even has plans for baby food, like mashed fish-and-vegetable soups for the toothless.
With Sapanli’s MBA in business development and marketing and her husband’s experience as an aquaculture engineer, the two, she says, “decided to merge our talents” and jump into the restaurant business. She has visions of the fish markets she grew up with in Europe. “You say you want this fish, and they cook it for you and serve it with salad and fresh bread. We wanted to bring that whole feeling here,” says Sapanli. “In order to do that, we’ll just make a big move.”
MediterraFish is slated to open around Thanksgiving at 2727 Merrilee Drive, Fairfax.