Martha Stewart names Lou's Fish the best in the country

No trip to the North Shore is complete without a stop for smoked fish at Northern Waters in Duluth, Russ Kendall's in Knife River, or Lou's Fish Smoke House in Two Harbors, which was recently named the best smoked fish house in America by Martha Stewart Living. For 35 years, the shop has been wood fire smoking its fish, which include wild Alaska salmon as well as Lake Superior caught trout, whitefish, herring, and ciscoes. [Thanks to Northland News for the video and MPR for the tip-off.]

Two Harbors native and hardcore fisherman/fish smoker Brian Zapolski took over Lou's Fish House from the original Lou Sjoberg in 2006. We caught up with him to get some details about his fish and the Martha Stewart Living publicity:

1. So did Martha herself show up in the shop?
No, she had ordered the fish and tried it and we talked to her on the phone and then she sent her film crew. They were really nice people and they shot maybe 156 rolls of film--it was unbelievable how many shots they took.

2. What has the reaction to the publicity been like?
The reaction has been really can't put a price on what kind of advertising that does. We've had about twice as many phone orders, with people calling from places like Texas and Idaho.

3. Which fish do you like best, and will it still be available by the time I get up there?
The favorite here is probably the Lake Superior lake trout that's brown sugar cured, also the Alaskan salmon sockeye salmon is really good and the whitefish. We're keeping pace, but we're going through a lot of product.

4. Or I could have it shipped, no?
We're set up to do year round shipping now. Before it cost nearly $60 to send $60 worth of fish--I wouldn't pay the same amount of money to have something shipped as I paid for the product. But lately FedEx and UPS's prices have come way down. I just sent a package down to the Twin Cities and it cost about $10 for shipping, plus $10 to pack it in a foam cooler with ice.

5. Are you thinking of getting into other retail outlets?
We actually are just finalizing plans to get into Whole Foods stores in the Twin Cities--our fish should be available later this summer.

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