Choosing the Best Seafood for Your Restaurant

As many foodservice professionals know, purchasing, preparing, and serving seafood can be a bit nerve-wracking. So, in honor of October being National Seafood Month, we’ve decided to school you on choosing the best seafood to prepare in your restaurant! Whether you purchase frozen fish in bulk from a large supplier, or you visit the docks to buy from a local fisherman, we'll tell you what to look out for!

Purchasing Fresh, Unfrozen Seafood

Fresh Fish

Since we reside in a country that’s recognized as a global leader in responsibly managed fisheries, agriculture, and sustainable food, purchasing fresh seafood from local markets has gained popularity. Plus, the eat local food movement has made society aware of how much better the taste of local food is. Offering seafood on your menu that’s sourced from nearby cities, counties, and states can also oftentimes justify a higher entree cost – because consumers, now more than ever, are willing to pay more for local, sustainable ingredients. If you're purchasing fresh, unfrozen seafood, consider the characteristics, pros, and cons we’ve listed below.

Characteristics of Fresh Seafood

  • Fish should have a seawater or cucumber smell; not sour, fishy, or ammonia-like smell
  • Eyes should be clear and slightly bulged
  • Fish should have firm, unmarred flesh
  • Exposed flesh should have no traces of browning
  • Fish’s body should spring back when pressed with your finger
  • Natural markings and colors of fish species should not be faded
  • Scales should adhere closely to the skin
Pros of Fresh Seafood

  • Fresh seafood advertises to customers better than frozen
  • Time-consuming task of unthawing is eliminated
  • Restaurant owners have a choice between multiple species depending on the fisherman’s catch
  • Opportunity to save money by purchasing bycatch, unintentionally caught fish
  • Ability to market your business as being devoted to sustainability
Cons of Fresh Seafood

  • Availability of seafood is unpredictable due to bad weather, shifting ocean temperatures, and small catches
  • Must be prepared within two days
  • Requires frequent trips to the local market
  • Risk purchasing from a source that doesn’t practice sustainable fishing
  • Lack of refrigeration during transport if located far from a coastal town

Purchasing Frozen Seafood

Frozen Fish

Unlike you may think, frozen seafood can be just as flavor and fresh as seafood purchased from a local market – but you have to do your research first and make sure you’re buying high-quality fish. Thanks to technological advances in the foodservice industry, fish can be caught, flash frozen, and shipped overnight (with a high cost, of course). In fact, frozen food is the ideal choice for restaurants not located within close proximity to the coasts or other large bodies of water. If you're purchasing frozen seafood, consider the characteristics, pros, and cons we’ve listed below.

Characteristics of Frozen Seafood

  • Fish should be completely frozen solid
  • Package should not be torn, opened, or crushed on the edges
  • Seafood should not be positioned above the frost line or at the top of the freezer case
  • Fish should be free of frost and ice crystals
  • Fish should not have any white, dehydrated areas
  • Fish should be wrapped in a moisture- and vapor-proof material
  • Fish should have very little or no odor at all
Pros of Frozen Seafood

  • Can be unthawed and prepared at any time
  • Restaurant owners can stock up on a bulk supply of frozen fish without it going bad
  • Less frequent purchases and trips to the supplier are required
  • Fish is typically frozen and preserved at its peak for the best flavor
  • Purchasing frozen is less intimidating than going to a fresh market
Cons of Frozen Seafood

  • Fish can spoil if it thaws out during transport and is left at warm temperatures
  • Risk of freezer burn
  • Risk of purchasing from other countries that aren’t required to follow the same FDA standards as the U.S.
  • Unthawing can take hours if done properly
  • Frozen fish is not guaranteed to be local and is not as marketable as fresh seafood

  • When it comes to choosing the best seafood to prepare in your restaurant, it really all comes down to availability, customer demand, and your personal preference. If your diners are looking for fresh catch, then that’s what’s going to sell best, and that’s what should be provided to them. However, if your geographical location permits you from visiting a local market, then be sure to do all the research on where your frozen seafood is coming from. You may also want to stock up on our seafood preparation supplies and appliances while you’re here!

    Posted in: Features | By Ashley Kufera

What's in Season in Your Region?

Strawberries in January? Pears in May? With so many fruits and vegetables being grown in greenhouses or imported from other states and countries, it can be difficult to know what's really in season where you live. We've broken down the contiguous United States into regions so you can see what produce is in season all year round in your part of the country. Of course, there are variations to our lists depending on where you live specifically, even within a certain region, so be sure to research your area using information from your local government or food guides for more details.

Posted in: Features | By Melissa Walters

October 2015 WebstaurantStore Coupon Code Update

From Torani Pumpkin Spice coffee syrup to the ever popular Mason jar mugs, we have specials on some of our most popular October items. Whether you are catering a Fall wedding, having a Halloween party, or delivering pizza, you'll love the extra savings! If you'd like even more coupons, be sure to sign up for our email sale flyers!

Use Coupon Code: OCTSALE
By Steven Ziegler

Top 5 Ways to Drink Apple Cider this Fall

Apple season is here! This is the time of year when apple pie, cobbler, cake, and crisp are all popping out of ovens. From caramel apples to apple coffee cake, we can't get enough of this sweet fruit, especially when fall begins. This season also commences apple-cider-drinking time. A warm cup of cider on a crisp fall day is sure to warm your customers from the inside out and provide a treat to satisfy their sweet tooth.

Can you smell the cooking apples, the spices, and the sweetness in the air? If you answered "No," try one of these top apple cider recipes to experience it. You and your taste buds won't regret it.

Classic Apple Cider

To get started on your recipes, you'll want to make classic homemade cider. This is one of many traditional ways to make your hot apple cider. It will warm you up as the days get colder, and the aroma of apples will make your restaurant or cafe smell amazing.



  • Quarter apples and cover with water in a large pot.
  • Wrap spices in cheesecloth. Add spices and the sugar to the pot.
  • Boil on high heat for 1 hour, then simmer for 2 hours.
  • Remove spices, mash apples, and strain into another container.

1. Hard Apple Cider (with Rum)

For those especially chilly days (or any day, really), there's also hard apple cider. This cider is different from the effervescent bottled version. It's not carbonated and is spiked with warm and smooth rum, making it a great option for punch bowls at parties.

Hard Apple Cider with Rum



  • Stud apple with cloves and combine it in a pot with all other ingredients, except the rum.
  • Slowly bring to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, discard the apple, and add the rum.

2. Orange Ginger Apple Cider

Ginger and orange blend together very well and evoke a holiday feeling. Although the holidays aren't quite here yet, you can get started early with this spiced apple cider.

Orange Ginger Apple Cider


  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 an orange, sliced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced


  • Combine all ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Strain and serve.

3. Salted Caramel Apple Cider

Decadent and sweet, salted caramel apple cider has a creamy texture your guests will get lost in! This indulgent recipe can be served as an after-dinner treat or even as a dessert topped with whipped cream.

Salted Caramel


  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup caramel syrup or sauce
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp. caramel syrup or sauce


  • Cook cider and cinnamon until warm. Add 1/4 cup caramel sauce to the mixture.
  • Whip cream and salt together.
  • Add 2 tbsp. caramel sauce to whipped cream and top off cups of cider with it.

4. Cranberry Apple Cider

This refreshing twist on classic apple cider blends tart cranberry juice with sweet apples. This palatable recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser, and the rich color emulates the changing color of the leaves! You can even add some fresh cranberries on top for extra color.

Cranberry Apple Cider


  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 1/2 quarts cranberry juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 tsp. whole cloves


  • Combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Garnish with orange slices and cranberries, if desired.

5. Spiked Pumpkin Apple Cider

Everyone loves pumpkin in their cakes, scones, coffee, and beer. In fact, you can find pumpkin and pumpkin spice in so many foods and beverages, it's surprising that pumpkin apple cider isn't more popular. Serve this cider at your bar during the holidays or offer it as your specialty drink of the fall season.

Spiked Pumpkin Apple Cider


  • 1 1/2 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka
  • 2 oz. apple cider
  • 1 1/2 oz. ginger beer


  • In a cocktail shaker, add ice, pumpkin puree, vodka, and apple cider.
  • Shake and strain into glass, then add ginger beer.

With these recipes, you can expand your menu offerings and entice customers to come inside your business on colder days. Whether guests are seated at your dining tables or at your bar, a fresh cup of classic apple cider or a not-so-traditional option will revive them. Happy fall!

Posted in: Drink Recipes | By Melissa Walters
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