Restaurateurs Nialls Fallon, Nick Perkins, and Leah Campbell launched Hart’s in 2016, quickly gaining intense fanfare in the neighborhood and beyond. Their follow-up spots, Cervo’s, and most recently, the Fly have garnered near-equal acclaim. Now, the team is dipping their toes into something entirely new: an in-house line of tinned fish products called Minnow, launching today, January 24.
To start, the team will sell tinned salmon, sardines, and cod liver, directly off their website (prices range between $8.99 to $13.99) and in their restaurants. The trio tells Eater that they hope to eventually roll out canned goods beyond fish, such as olive oil, and other preserved items, and expand into wholesale, selling their goods at the city’s many specialty shops.
“When we opened Hart’s, one of the first dishes we put on the menu was a lamb burger with anchovies,” says Fallon. “The reason we wanted to start with tinned seafood was the personal connection to these canneries we had. We know how to sell tinned seafood, talk about it, and prepare it.”
In truth, the idea for Minnow came about long before the pandemic. Fallon co-opened East Village conservas destination Maiden Lane ten years ago, where he got a crash course in importing tinned fish, a culinary interest that’s been important to the trio’s friendship in the years since.
Nevertheless, the team tells Eater that — of course — the past couple of years gave them a necessary push. In 2020, Hart’s and Cervo’s pivoted to become general stores selling wine as well as sandwiches made in-house, ricotta, and other pantry items like vinegar, oils, and produce like hard-to-find citrus.
Though the trio says they have no intention of pivoting again to the general store model, it did make them realize how much they enjoyed being a part of their customers’ at-home cooking, especially during the pandemic.
“It certainly wasn’t the right time to launch when we were fighting to save our three restaurants,” Fallon says. “But this is a project that we all felt dovetails nicely with what we already do.”