Not a restaurant or attraction, I wasn't really sure how to provide my review for Hickey Bros. Market, so I opted to write a "story" instead.
Before my trip to Door County I had already researched "what if" options if I were to catch a fish during my charter . . . or perhaps more importantly if I didn't catch a fish. Hickey Bros. Market is located right near the Baileys Harbor Yacht Marina where my charter would be going out from and they are the fish processor recommended if you want to have your catch frozen or smoked.
I was happy to learn that they not only process fish, but they also serve as a fish retailer for those wishing to purchase freshly caught and prepared fish; including salmon, perch and whitefish. This worked out very well for me as I did catch an 18 pound chinook (king) salmon that would need to be professionally processed and frozen and I also wanted to purchase some smoked salmon to take home with me.
My salmon was well prepared; filleted into four large slabs, vacuum seal packed and flash frozen. The 18 pounder resulted in just over nine pounds of filets. For this service I was charged just $6. (Had my fish been 15 lbs. or smaller, it would have been only $5.) I had a cooler to pack the frozen packages in. The young man working the counter offered to pack out the cooler with ice from their ice machine. How nice! That saved me at least a couple more bucks to not having to buy ice at a local convenience store.
I also bought a smoked salmon chub that weighted just over a pound. At $6.99 this was a very good deal considering that to smoke your own catch, they charge around $2/lb. so it is sorta like getting their fish for only $5/lb. When I got home that afternoon, I could hardly wait to have a salmon & cream cheese sandwich on a toasted bagel for lunch. Boy was it delicious!
During my visit to pick up my packaged fish, I got to watch as a commercial fisherman brought in their morning catch of whitefish. I spent some time watching them clean and prepare the fish that would later be used for that evening's fish boil dinners at a local restaurant. Truly, the fish served in Door County are caught and prepared fresh daily.
Listening to the market guys talk to a couple of charter boat guides, the fishing so far this summer has been very hit and miss. We had a very late spring and the water temperatures have spiked very quickly causing the salmon to move quicker than usual. The impact is that the charter captains are left to chasing the fish, not really sure how fast they are moving to deeper, colder waters.
The one charter boat captain chided me a bit when we were repacking my cooler. He has something smart to say about the bananas in my cooler: "No wonder you didn't catch more fish with bananas on board." I quipped back, without missing a beat . . . "Yeah well at least what I did catch was bigger than that fish you just brought in from last night!" He didn't have a come back and just walked away.
As I was leaving, I enjoyed watch a couple of cats playing out on the front steps. The one looked very pregnant while the other was doting on her, cleaning and grooming her face. It was sweet to see. I'm sure those cats eat well, living at a fish processing market.
Hickey Bros. Market is located down Ridges Road across from the pier at the yacht club. Here is their contact information:
Hickey Bros. Market
8099 Ridges Road
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202
Be sure to call ahead to see what fresh fish they have available before heading down there. Their hours (in season) are 8a - 5p Monday through Saturday. They only accept cash payment.
Note about their fish processing services: They can have fish filleted and frozen, ready for pick-up the next morning. To have your catch smoked, you should allow two full days and it could take longer if you hit a weekend (like I did) and/or there aren't other fish to be smoked that day.