Five Things You Should Know About The Fish Guy’s Wellfleet

Bill Dugan
Bill Dugan Photo: courtesy of The Fish Guy Market

Bill Dugan — better known as The Fish Guy to his customers — announced last week that he was planning to open Wellfleet, a new restaurant inside the Fish Guy Market in Irving Park. According to Chicago Magazine, Wellfleet will serve a collection of fresh seafood and even New Haven-style pizzas for lunch and dinner six days a week. Already one of the most respected fishmongers in town, we were intrigued and couldn’t wait to hear more. As anyone who has talked to him before knows, Dugan is enthusiastic and spirited, but even we weren’t expecting a 2,365 word response about what’s in store. The text is more than we could ever hope to recap here, but we’ve picked out five things you should look out for.

1. He’s Making New Haven-Style Pizza
Is it strange that we are most excited that Dugan plans to serve New Haven-style pizza? He’s excited, too: “To my taste, I think we will have the best pie in the city of Chicago. At a fish market!” Dugan was born in Boston and lived for a time in Connecticut, so he has some fond memories of chowing down on clam pies at Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana. (Though he claims he is “still partial to Pizzeria Regina in Boston’s North End.”) To create the distinctive pies, a special pizza oven was created by “an industrial engineer pal who is a pizza freak.”

2. There Will Be Abalone
Dugan’s friendship with some “surfer dudes who still make a living diving for abalone” will allow him to serve the items at a lower price point. “And I’m not speaking of some shavings here,” he points out, “when I serve a dish I want people to experience the product that is the focal point.”

3. Expect Some Serious Steak
Wellfeet won’t be solely about seafood. In fact, he plans to serve a wagyu chateau cut for “under 30 dollars.” He’s actually been supplying wagyu for “over 14 years,” but didn’t want to advertise it too much over the seafood items: “I wanted to always keep my fishmonger rep in the forefront.”

4. Truffles!
Look for Alba truffles to make their way onto a few dishes: “I will shave a bit on to some soft eggs or maybe finish a mushroom pizza with some but maybe for an extra 7 or 8 bucks.”

5. Wellfleet Coffee
“I even have an interest in a coffee,” writes Dugan. He has a family connection to a coffee plantation in El Salvador and claims that the product is “exceptional.” He just hopes that people won’t linger too long over a cup. With only 20 seats, waiting for people to finish a cup would be like “watching paint dry.”

Wellfleet, 4423 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, IL 60630; 773-283-7400

Five Things You Should Know About The Fish Guy’s Wellfleet