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Oct 4, 2011 12:10 PM

What happened to Port Chatham/Portlock, providers of seafood?

I used to buy great hunks of cured copper river salmon from this little place in Fremont near a city transformer station. They had a case of various smoked fish and it was always crowded with locals and tourist. Then they upgraded and moved to a spiffy place near the locks in Ballard. The amount of smoked fish that was not canned or 'boxed' dropped, but I was still able to get some great smoked salmon. It has been years since I've bought from them. Now I need to get some great local smoked salmon to send back to the east coast. I have checked their web page and the offerings are dismal and not what I remember. What happened? And any suggestions on where to go? I need a place that will pack and ship a couple days before the party. Thanks!

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  1. It is now called Trident Seafoods Store, 2821 NW Market St., Seattle WA. 98107. I also found them online with Google - looked up Port Chatham.

    1. I keep thinking I'm seeing their stuff at Costco, but I could be wrong.

      1 Reply
      1. re: acgold7

        The hard-smoked Salmon was at the Costco Business Center in Lynnwood today under the Trident label, 24 oz. for about $17.

      2. Bethwick, The Made In Washington stores can handle your order. (There is one at the Pike Place Market.)

        Pike Place Market
        1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

        1 Reply
        1. re: Leper

          Didn't see that brand in their online catalog.

        2. 100th and Holman road has a small-scale salmon smoking operation. In fact, I think the sign actually says PORTLOCK.
          The place you described is now a dump. (Literally, it's a landfil now)

          1 Reply
          1. re: PeteSeattle

            What a shame. I worked summers at Port Chatham as a teenager. A great family business that took pride in producing quality products from traditional recipies. Workers got to sneak a piece or two of Indian Candy, a melt-in-your-mouth soft-smoked delicacy made from scrapped salmon bones. Miss the walk-in smoker and the great food.

          2. So I was just on the Portlock (Trident) Online Store website and it seems there are about 20 different sizes and types of smoked salmon items, not counting the canned type. King, Sockeye, Pink, Copper River or not, Hot or Cold Smoked (Lox), Peppered or normal... What were you looking for that they don't have -- maybe we can help you track it down elsewhere.

            This was the only Copper River I could find:


            5 Replies
            1. re: acgold7

              acgold7 I used to be able to buy a nice thick 1-2 lb piece of smoked copper river salmon. They used to have a much more extensive selection of 'fresh' fish. I am not interested in the boxed or canned stuff. I am willing to get salmon that is not copper river. Maybe the Portock king salmon is fine, it's just that they seemed to have changed from what they were 10-20 years ago, so I'm leery of purchasing it.

              1. re: Bethwick

                By "Fresh" do you mean Cold Smoked Refrigerated stuff? By definition, Smoked fish is not really Fresh.

                As I recall, there are a bunch of places down in Pike Place.

                1. re: acgold7

                  You reminded me that once I bought a whole salmon for a party I was attending, and found out that I got the date wrong, and instead of buying the fish one day in advance, I had bought it three days in advance.
                  So I took the fish, filleted it and made gravlax, which takes at least two days to season. While I didn't have the fresh salmon to show off at the party, the gravlax was just as big a hit. In fact, it was a bigger hit.
                  Learning to make gravlax is a good way to get your plentiful salmon to last longer.

                  As one of the party goers, an ancient Norwegian said, "It's like you take the taste of the salmon, and you concentrate it!"

                2. re: Bethwick

                  Go to the Trident retail store and ask. They might give you a taste of the King to see if it meets your standards. I go down there about once a month (mostly for their frozen fish) and I've never been in a place that made me feel more like I was valued as a customer. Nice people.

                  1. re: Bethwick

                    We used to love their stuff 5-10 years ago but we tried them more recently and found the salmon much, much more salty than it used to be. Plus, also notice that most of the salmon is now package/canned. I kind of got the impression that maybe Trident had purchased the original Portlock but I couldn't say for sure.

                    Jensen's Smokehouse might be a better be these days. They are at 10520 Greenwood Avenue North, Seattle and (206) 364-5569.