University Seafood & Poultry
by Eliot Mueting
In the late 1920s on the corner of University way and NE 47th St University Seafood and Poultry opened it's doors. Almost 100 years later and just a few from it's original location University Seafood and Poultry's door is still open serving up some of highest quality seafood along side some of the most rare and obscure cuts of meat that can only be found in the U District.
I sat down with Dale Erickson current owner operator of University Seafood & Poultry and his grandson Andrew to ask about the past present and future of their long time family business. The story for the Erickson's begins in 1945 when Dale's father was working down at the waterfront when a close friend of his lost his son in WWII and had decided to retire to California and offered to sell the business to him. Since the begining the store has been about close personal connections, to this day University Seafood has about 8 employees, including Dale's grandson Andrew and a group of guys who have an average tenure of 20+ years working in the shop. The crew at University Seafood is a family first.
When I asked Dale about how is it that his business has been able to remain so successful for so long he, attributes the longevity to two qualities, their stedfast dedication to extreme quality and variety as well as their flexibility to adapt to change. Every morning University Seafood buyer heads to SeaTac airport to meet the fresh seafood brokers and gather new stock, constantly rotating their inventory to meet customers changing demands.
"If we acquire something and it sells out we will get it agin, if it doesn't sell out we won't" says Dale, "If someone comes in and asks for some really strange cut, we probably have it.".
These two mentalities leads to University Seafood keeping one of these most diverse selections of meat found anywhere in the city.
"We have Fresh Wild Stealhead only available from the Pacific Northwest Native American reservations, we have Bronzini from the mediterranean, and fish from all over the world" Dale explains.
What many don't know is that University Seafood is one of the only places you will find in Seattle that keeps; salmon, swordfish, mackeral, tuna, iguana, alligator, llama, python, camel, beef, venison, duck, pheasant and more all for sale everyday.
When discussing University Seafoods' legacy Andrew Erickson puts it into perspective best.
"I plan to stick the coarse, focus on quality, the reputation we have is something that you can not buy. No one says anything if you are doing it right but it can all be lost if you do it wrong."
"There is no other place I would rather be than working here, with my Grand Father, it's in my blood."
We at the UDP look forward to many more years to come with University Seafood and suggest if you haven't yet, to stop by University Seafood and say hello to Erick, Andrew and the rest of the crew.