A Destination Experience With A Colorful History
Jun 16, 2018 12:00PM
By Rita Calvert Photography by Tony Lewis, Jr.
Kim Lawson owner of Fishpaws Marketplace is one busy lady. I caught up with her to learn how her bustling world of trade has kept folks coming back for decades.
We all want to know how the name came to be. How did it?
The business is named after Bill (William) Fishpaws, who started it in 1935. Even though there were different names, locals still referred to their original Fishpaws.
Fishpaws has a long and colorful history. A friend from this area remembers when it was a small general store with fishing bait by the train stop. Please give us the background.
Even before Prohibition, Fishpaws Marketplace had been anchored to the same spot as a gas station, tavern, and liquor store.
In 1939, a liquor license was established properly naming the property Fishpaws Service Station. For years, it changed monikers, from Bill and Etta’s Tavern, then simply Bill’s Tavern. Before the completion of Ritchie Highway in 1940, the building faced Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard.
In 1971, the business was transferred to John Carpenter, who ran the operation as Bill’s Tavern until 1982 when it was sold to Saundra DeVese, and the name was changed to Arnold Liquors.
The Lawson family bought the business in 1984 with all of the locals continuing to call it Fishpaws under the original namesake as Fishpaws Marketplace. My parents, Brad and Chris Lawson, ran the business from 1983 until 1989 when I become an operating partner.
My mother wrote the monthly newsletter and assisted with wine events up until her retirement in 2010. My father, Brad, has been in the liquor and wine industry since 1968, as a distributor, supplier, retailer, and broker. In 2010, my parents sold their shares of stock to me and I became the sole owner of Fishpaws Marketplace.
Has Fishpaws always had the same footprint?
My parents always envisioned Fishpaws showcasing fine wines and spirits while updating and expanding the building. A 10-year battle ensued with county and community opposition and bureaucracy. In 2003, we were able to upgrade and expand the physical building to continue offering fine wine, spirits and to increase the deli offerings with more extensive upscale food— always looking for ways to improve the business and differentiate ourselves in the marketplace.
How long have you been involved with Fishpaws?
I’ve been actively involved since 1989 and handle the day-to-day operations, although
I practically cut my eyeteeth on the liquor and wine industry. Before Fishpaws, my parents owned five gift stores. I always worked, given my background in retail.
How would you describe Fishpaws Marketplace as a business?
We are an upscale Marketplace. We aren’t just a liquor store but a shopping experience. We are totally different from other liquor stores. My staff and I continue our long-standing commitment to wine education and innovation through WineStation®, which is an Intelligent Dispensing Systems from Napa Technologies. We have a well-trained staff with extensive experience in the industry. Our gourmet cheese department is led by Teri Pheobus, our certified cheese cpecialist, and offers many unique product lines.
We also host many events from beer, wine and spirit dinners at local restaurants. We have an on/off premise license so, we can sell flights of beer, wine samples in one ounce, two ounce and four ounce pours and spirits samples in half ounce or one ounce pours. We also have a 12-line growler station to fill 32 ounce and 64 ounce growlers.
Not long ago, Fishpaws had an active takeout deli case and one could always smell the aroma of chicken roasting. Why did that change?
We decided to focus on our core business of beer, wine, and spirits. We expanded our growler station to 12 taps from our original number of five. We also expanded our gourmet cheese department. In the space, we were able to offer our spirit tasting bar, which was an addition to our offerings. We also created a bar area for tastings and special events. We still have a wonderful aroma because we bake baguettes fresh daily and serve them hot.
Who does the wine purchasing? What is the background to be able to do that?
Todd Ross is our wine manager with 26 years of experience and has traveled throughout Europe and the U.S., visiting and tasting in the cellars of some of the world’s most respected and
renowned wine producers.
We have a manager for each department. All our managers have extensive experience in the industry.
Fishpaws Charcuterie How-To
You typically need about two to three ounces of meat per person. Good choices are prosciutto or speck.
Whole-muscle cuts refer to meats preserved whole, such as prosciutto, bresaola or speck. which are thinly sliced.
Cured sausages add heartiness to a charcuterie board, contrasting with the delicacy of the thinly sliced cuts above. This type of hard sausage includes the perennial favorites, salami and Spanish chorizo.
Forcemeats contribute smoothness to the charcuterie board, offering something to spread on a crusty piece of toast. Fitting forcemeats that add depth to charcuterie include pâté, such as foie gras, and rillettes de canard.
For a well-rounded charcuterie board, you need one or two soft cheeses and one or two firm cheeses. Like meats, two to three ounces of each cheese per person should suffice.
Hard cheeses pair naturally with thinly sliced whole-muscle cuts, thanks to their acidity and texture. Parmigiano Reggiano is a natural fit for prosciutto, and is usually the first choice for a platter. Other hard cheeses to try include cheddars or Swiss style cheeses.
Soft and semi-firm cheeses counter the sturdiness of cured sausage—Chèvre, brie and the creamy Spanish sheep’s-milk.
Blue cheeses always help round out the selection.
Sweet and Sour
Always include a few sweet and a few sour ingredients in your charcuterie. Sweet preparations such as jams and confiture are ideal foils to sharper flavors, while acidic and salty items such as cornichons, olives, fresh fruit and raw or pickled vegetables cut through the fat of charcuterie meats and cheeses.
Include two or three bread varieties: a well-made baguette, toasted crostini or assorted crackers.
Finish your charcuterie board strong. Although a charcuterie board is rustic, it should appear well thought-out.
Serve the charcuterie on an attractive, yet rustic food-safe board. We used wine crate tops, which have been lacquered with food-safe finish. Simply fold and arrange the meats directly on the wood.
Serve jams and confiture in the jars they come in—if the jars are attractive, of course. Or you can just dap some directly on the board. Do the same with pickles and other sour ingredients.
Leave the bread whole; it will stay fresh longer.
Provide capable serving tools. Quality cheese knives, a small dish or bowl for olive pits and spoons for jarred items are essential when crafting the charcuterie experience. Provide a serrated bread knife, but feel free to use your hands—tearing off a hunk of crusty, delicious bread to pile the goods on is not a charcuterie faux pas.
Champagne & Sparklin—Triple cream (Brie-style) cheese, Shrimp and shellfish, smoked salmon, caviar, fried calamari, and oysters, mushrooms, egg dishes, foie gras, Fruit-based desserts such as tarts, crepes, and any butttered or honeyed dessert
Chardonnay—serve with seafood, chicken or pasta in butter or cream sauce, veal, turkey, ham, Swiss cheese, Gruyeres, or Port-Salut cheese
Riesling—serve with clams, mussels, Asian dishes, sashimi, ham, pork, lobster in cream sauce, Coquilles St. Jacques, mild cheeses
Sauvignon Blanc—serve with oysters, grilled or poached salmon, seafood salad, ham, chevre, goat cheese, and strongly flavored cheeses
Gewurztraminer—serve with spicy dishes, Thai food, curry, smoked salmon, pork and sauerkraut, Muenster, or spiced/peppered cheeses
Cabernet Sauvignon—serve with hearty meat dishes, spicy beef stews, roasts, duck, spicy poultry dishes, rabbit, pate, Cheddar, or blue cheeses
Merlot—serve with braised chicken, roasted turkey, roast beef, lamb, veal, stew, liver, venison, meat casseroles, gouda, and patés
Pinot Noir—serve with braised chicken, duck, rabbit, roast turkey, roast beef, lamb, veal, charcuterie, grilled salmon, mushroom dishes, Gruyeres, Manchego, and patés
Syrah—serve with braised chicken, chili, meat stew, peppercorn steak, barbecued meats, spicy meats, ratatouille, and patés