The owner of Cold Spring Fish, a seafood and specialty food store, showcases both a passion for food and an eye for design on Route 9.
When customers walk into Cold Spring Fish, they often exclaim that the place looks like a jewelry store. “I get goosebumps every time people say this,” says the store’s owner Alejandra Awad.
Awad, a Garrison resident who once owned a jewelry shop in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood and is also a painter and jewelry designer, does have a distinct eye for color and display. Even the seafood is color coordinated—with shades ranging from pearly white and gray of the sole and Chilean seabass to the pink snapper and orange salmon. All the food items—from the prepared dishes and sauces in one refrigerated case to the tins of fish, spices, oils, and packaged goods on the shelves—are carefully curated and aesthetically pleasing.
But good looks aren’t the only reason why everyone is raving about Cold Spring Fish—from local shoppers to restaurants like The Foundry Rose and Hudson Hil’s in Cold Spring. The fresh seafood—which comes from as close by as Fulton Fish Market in New York City, or as far away as the south of Chile—arrives four days a week.
Besides the daily fresh fish special, there’s a cooked seafood special every day, ranging from paella to lobster mac ‘n’ cheese prepared by Chef Herson Romero. You can count on sushi poké bowls, soups, and crab and fish cakes always being available.
You can also find smoked fish and plenty of caviar—from trout and salmon roe to beluga—plus blinis and crème fraiche. Awad’s goal is for customers to be able to purchase everything they need for a meal, even bread and bagels. “We try to make it as easy as possible,” she says. For instance, if a shopper wants to make paella at home, all the ingredients can be bought in the shop including the rice, the saffron and homemade fish broth.
Cold Spring Fish started as a delivery business run by Awad and Ralph Moran in 2020. Moran owns a seafood importing and distribution company, and that spring Covid lockdowns had temporarily shut down some of his clients. “We had a lot of friends and neighbors who knew my husband was in the seafood business, and they were asking if we could get fresh fish,” recalls Awad. “So, my husband and I thought, ‘Let’s give it a try.’”
The couple started with weekly deliveries to about 20 homes in Garrison and Cold Spring. Just two months later, the list grew to 200 families. Customers can still order from the company website and get free deliveries (for orders $50 plus) on Thursdays and Fridays. The delivery area has grown to include all of Putnam, and parts of northern Westchester, southern Dutchess, and a few towns in Orange.
Their success took Awad and Moran by surprise and it became clear that they could add a brick-and-mortar store to the delivery business. Awad, with her retail roots, was especially keen. Her kids were teenagers, and, she says, “I missed being in touch with people.”
The transition from selling jewelry to seafood was seamless for Awad, who’s originally from Santiago, Chile. “Chile has amazing seafood, and you can get it everywhere. I grew up loving seafood,” she explains. Once she decided to open the store, Awad—who’s there every day—wanted to sell foods she found delicious. “I am the customer. There’s nothing in my store that I don’t love or eat. I really enjoy eating so that’s how I choose my products,” she explains. “And then I want to share [my favorites] with people. I love that experience.”
One item she wants to bring in regularly is fresh sea urchin, known as uni in Japanese. It’s all part of her quest to be a store that sells items you can’t easily find elsewhere in the Valley—as well as a place that’s welcoming. “I love the relationship with our customers,” says Awad. “They come to buy, but they also come just to talk. There’s a very nice neighborhood feel.”