Ever-growing St. Paul Fish Company expands to Mequon
History of the location spoke to the owners

By Sheryl Popp - Special to Conley Media

June 25, 2019

 Pictured are St. Paul Fish Company owner Beth Collins, left and chef Kyle Woppert.
Photo by Mark Justesen

MEQUON — The St. Paul Fish Company opened in Mequon May 9 with a soft opening. The restaurant was the first tenant of the Spur 16 project on Mequon Road. The original St. Paul opened in the Milwaukee Public Market in 2005.

Restaurant owner Tim Collins, who operates the Mequon location with his wife Beth, is a fountain of knowledge on the historical significance of both buildings.

Collins was approached by Jimmy Pandl, renowned North Shore restaurateur, about coming to work for him on a new venture in Milwaukee. Collins had honed his skills working in both Alaska and Florida fisheries, and was currently commuting to Chicago. He liked the idea of coming back.

Pandl was opening a business in the Milwaukee Public Market, the St. Paul Fish Company, and he tapped Collins to run it. When it opened in 2005, the business had only the fish case and the deli. The oyster bar was added, along with more seating. As space opened up, an outdoor tiki bar was also added.

“We expanded over 13 years,” said Collins.

 St. Paul’s Fish Company is located in the historic smokestack building, whose uses included a packaging facility for Nieman’s Garden Spot frozen cut green beans and produce food for mink that were raised for fur on area farms.
Photo by Mark Justesen

Collins bought Pandl out of the company six years ago. Over time, he has had a lot of job offers come his way.

“I don’t think I would have moved if it wasn’t for the great history of this area and building,” he said. “I love the fact that both businesses have such unique history.”

The Milwaukee location on St. Paul and Water streets was originally Muench Oyster Company. They brought oysters to Milwaukee from the East Coast in barrels of sawdust that were transported by train.

Muench then distributed them around the Milwaukee area. The Spur 16 location was a cannery.

“We were the first to sign up and we’ve helped recruit other people from the Milwaukee Public Market,” said Collins.”

It took a year and a half to ready the building. A Cedarburg design firm, 5253 Design Collective, was hired to create the tables in the restaurant, each unique.

 A 300-pound octopus chandelier adorns the ceiling at the entrance of the building.
Photo by Mark Justesen


 Light fixtures made from old lobster traps hang over booths in the restaurant's dining room..
Photo by Mark Justesen

Kent Knapp, who has a show on The History Channel, “Milwaukee Blacksmith,” built the 300-pound octopus chandelier that hangs in the restaurant. According to Collins, he wasn’t crazy about selling it, but was encouraged by his wife to let it go. Everything you see in the restaurant was hand-picked by Tim and Beth Collins, and has its own fascinating history.

“Opening the restaurant was a huge challenge and a real marathon,” said Collins. “We hired 48 new people. We also hired Didier Ibar, who was the general manager at Lake Park Bistro for 16 years, as part of our team. It took time to get that many new employees all trained – and what you plan for and what happens are two different things. Last year in Milwaukee, they sold 130,000 oysters and 43,000 lobster rolls. That’s a lot of food. If we can keep up with our production and quality, we will open an outdoor seating area this year.”

St. Paul Fish Company serves all things fish, and the menu is pretty much the same as downtown. However, in Mequon, on the off chance you go to a fish restaurant without loving fish, you can also get a roast beef Po’ Boy or steak dinner.

St. Paul Fish Company is located at 6200 W. Mequon Road in Mequon, part of the Spur 16 development. It’s open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and does not take reservations at this time. Takeout is available.

The phone number is 262-200-9909.

Contact St. Paul Fish Company

6200 W. Mequon Road Mequon

11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily

<<EARLIER: St. Paul Fish Co. joins Spur 16