Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant Celebrates 35 Years of Keeping it Fresh
Paul Formica and his late wife, Donna, opened Flanders Fish Market on December 23rd, 1983 at 11AM with just $41 to their name – and they put it in the register to make change. Since then, their tiny fresh fish market – still family owned & operated – has grown into the largest full-service fresh fish marketplace in Connecticut. Recently inducted into the Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA) Hospitality Hall of Fame, Flanders Fish Market’s youngest family member, daughter, Olivia, works there as a chef & is the most recent inductee to the Board of the CRA.
A restaurant, bar, fish market & full service clambake and catering operation, Flanders Fish Market has earned many awards and accolades since that December day in 1983, including being featured on the Food Network’s Best of: Finger Lickin’ Favorites television show, recipient of Rachael Ray Magazine’s “Best Lobster Pot Pie in America”, nods in Connecticut Magazine, New London Day & Norwich Bulletin’s Reader’s Choice Awards and inclusion in Coastal Living Magazine’s list of “Best Clambake Companies in America,” among others.
In addition to the many accolades Flanders Fish has received, the business has also resulted in an incredible personal & community impact; 10 couples met at the Fish Market & married (producing countless Fish Market babies!), the incarnation of the Donna Formica Scholarship Foundation, and the multiple charities they support throughout the year.
Owner Paul Formica, shares, “That December day, we could have never imagined how the Fish Market would take root in this incredible community. We have been blessed beyond measure by our neighbors, friends, customers, wonderful vendors and of course the best staff there is. Flanders Fish Market is a special place – it is what allowed our family to grow – but it has also been an institution that has supported so many other families and our community; and this small business has provided a pathway of service for me as a 23-year elected official in East Lyme and for 3 terms as your state senator. Thank you to everyone who has stopped in to say hello, share your loved ones with us and grab a pound of fresh fish, a cup of chowder or a lobster over the years – you are why we do what we do, and we thank you for a lifetime of support.”