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Where to buy mussels to make at home?

Does anyone have a great source in Chicago for purchasing mussels to prepare at home? The mussels at Jewel and Dominick's always look fairly sad. I love mussels and order them at restaurants frequently (Hopleaf, Vincent, Leopold, etc.), but I'm looking to make them at home. I welcome any suggestions!

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  1. I think Dirk's Fish on Clybourn is the best retail outlet around.

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    1. There are several places to get fresh ones around town. Good luck on your quest, Dirk's is a fine choice. What I want to add is that you can buy them frozen at a bunch of places. You may be tempted to buy them frozen. Those boxes of New Zealand Green Lipped mussels on the half shell are big and meaty and pretty. Frozen mussels, however, are the Devil's appetizer. They are just gross, lifeless, chunks of yuck. I really cannot stand frozen mussels at all. They have no resemblance to their fresh counterparts. If you do get tempted to buy frozen ones, just remember this thread.

      4 Replies
      1. re: gordeaux

        Well that's quite an image. Fresh=good. Frozen=bad. :) Thank you! I'll definitely check out Dirks. It's a bit far from where I live, but I know it's the best fish monger in the city so it's worth the trek.

        1. re: RenMechan

          If you're near the loop during the day, I'd check out Issacson & Stein on the corner of Halsted & Fulton Market. Fantastic quality, always fresh, and wholesale pricing. They're really set up more as a wholesale supplier, so their hours can be a bit tricky. It's a fun experience as well:

          http://www.isaacsonandsteinfishcompan...

          1. re: RenMechan

            I've gotten mussels from WF and from Costco that were significantly smaller and less meaty/juicy than the ones at Dirks. I'm probably going to get some from him tomorrow. The NTY has been featuring mussels recipes all week and I'm inspired.

            1. re: chicgail

              To those on the fence about making a long trek to Dirk's, there's the bonus of its being the start of soft-shell crab season. . . .

        2. I know Hopleaf gets its mussels from Fortune Fish in Bensenville, and I believe many other chefs and restaurants use this resource. I am not sure about their procedures for selling to the public, but it's worth a try.

          1. Mariano's often advertises mussels. Their seafood at the new Benton Place store looks nice.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Querencia

              Naperville Super HMart regularly has fresh mussels available and they are frequently on sale (2 lb. bag $1.99). I suspect other Super HMart stores in Chicago should be offering them at similar prices.