Fresh Seafood in Ft. Lauderdale – Finster Murphy’s

1497 SE 17th Street – Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 / (954) 765-3461

Have you ever been in a supermarket and suddenly overwhelmed by the smell of ammonia walking past the fish counter?  That’s their solution to mask what should never be at a fish counter in the first place – seafood past its prime.  Thank God seafood lovers have had a fresher choice for the past year at Finster Murphy’s Fresh Seafood Market on the southernmost corner of Southport Plaza.  Walking in, you distinctly notice that there is no aroma to notice except for the wafting fragrance of a slow simmering soup that greets you at the door.  Owned by Patrick Gibson and Kathy Murphy, their market/eat-in seafoodery (yeah, I just made that up) harkens back to a time when you knew your fish monger and (s)he would know what you wanted the second you came in; welcome back to that era!  Kathy and Patrick’s customers say, “It just feels good to walk in the door,” because of the simple, clutter-free walls, corner-view, ample space to choose your pristine fillets/shellfish, and most importantly, their spotless storefront inside and out which is Patrick’s pride and joy – the fruit of his hard labor each and every morning.

Kathy’s hand-picked seafood makes you want to follow a strict pescatarian diet like she does; who makes a better seafood market owner than someone whose primary dietary source of protein is only the freshest seafood she can find?  Or would you expect anything less from a lady who once wrote that fish was her favorite food – in her high school yearbook!  Kathy has been in the food business for over 30 years; some of her earliest and fondest memories are of working at her grandmother’s diner at age 12.  No doubt, that was Kathy’s training ground for creating the in-demand, homemade soups and small batch seafood salads that sell out almost daily at Finster Murphy’s.  The attention to simplicity is what I personally appreciate most about Kathy & Patrick’s place – they let the food speak for itself and add only what will enhance, not cover up the delicate flavors of their seafood. The perfect example is their tuna burger.  Kathy has a secret recipe of spices/herbs/ingredients that go into it, but none hide the fact that the tuna itself is the star of the show; even their own spicy wasabi sauce or a drizzle of a delicate white pineapple balsamic that they carry in-store will only accentuate, not eclipse their freshest catch’s flavors.

Since quality is paramount and no two seafood shipments are the same, each one needs to be meticulously inspected.  Everyone, especially Kathy’s suppliers, know where they stand with her; she refreshingly says what she means and means what she says.  If you pay a little more for your seafood here, it is well-warranted because Kathy pays extra to ensure she is one of the first stops on a route to ensure first pick of the fishermen’s catch and with that, comes a higher expectation.  As you can imagine Kathy was aghast when she inspected a sub-par delivery trying to cross her threshold, “You should be ashamed of even thinking of sending that to our store,” she insisted on an immediate call to her supplier after rejecting the delivery.  Now that is who I want running the place I trust for unsullied sea fare!  If all that wasn’t enough, each and every one of Kathy’s hand-selected staff (her & Patrick’s own “Winning Superbowl Team”) all know what it takes to meet Finster Murphy’s highest-standards too, just ask them.

Besides their soups made from scratch, some of their best sellers are their fat-laden Scottish salmon (with good omega-3 fats which aid in brain function and reduce inflammation), perfectly dense mahi-mahi fillets (dolphin the fish, not Flipper, as colorfully displayed behind their counter) that are a hearty choice for those who need some substance to their meals and an unadulterated array of shrimp, tuna, swordfish, flounder, snapper, cod, mussels, scallops, calamari and special order items like haddock, cherrystone/quahog (giant) clams and more – like lobsters in excess of 4 pounds!  If you think that’s colossal, it pales in comparison to Kathy & Patrick’s hearts.  They ensure the local community benefits from the sweat of their and their team’s brows by supporting The Ronald McDonald House, PINION Special Olympics of Broward, March of Dimes and The Humane Society.

When I asked Kathy what keeps her going when, like all of us, she inevitably has a day where exhaustion seems about to take its final blow, her eyes welled up from a thankful heart and said, “It’s an unexpected comment of gratitude from an employee or customer that makes it all worthwhile and refreshes me.” I share Kathy’s sentiments, there are no coincidences; to me it’s God telling us at our lowest moments to keep going.  Looking at their office door right behind the register, you see how much they appreciate that encouragement by all the notes from locals they’ve hung up reminding them as they pass by (several hundred times a day) to keep on going – it doesn’t get any more refreshing or local than that!


Contributed by: Paul Rydza, Proprietor of The Spice Quarter on Las Olas at The Intracoastal “Broward’s ORIGINAL Spice, Herb, Balsamic & Olive Oil Tasting Bar”