Meet the Fish Monger: James Coronesi

Jimmy Coronesi was raised in Oyster Bay. He first got involved in the seafood industry at the age of 16. He started off clamming in the muddy waters of the Bay and went on to open his own seafood store. Soon he was making more money than teachers, which earned around $5,500 dollars a year back then. For a young man that was a lot of money. Coronesi had a stint in Alaska fishing for salmon and halibut and a thriving business in the oyster industry while in Oyster Bay. However, the oyster business went down the tubes, Jimmy explained. “The brown tide came and that was the end of that.” Brown tide is the name for a type of algae that looks dark brown and makes the water very unappealing to fisherman and swimmers alike. Though harmless to humans, brown tide is bad for scallops and eelgrass and it makes it hard to fish for oysters and other shellfish including steamers, cherry stones, mussels and little necks.
The main store Coronesi owns in Hampton Bays is Cor-J Seafood, located on Lighthouse Road. He also owns Tully’s in Hampton Bays and another Cor-J in Westhampton Beach.

Coronesi opened Cor-J in the late 70’s in what used to be called Smitty’s Lobster House. Smitty’s only sold lobsters. Cor-J sells a wide variety of the freshest seafood you will find on Long Island. Fluke, local squid, tuna, bluefish, king salmon: you name it, they’ve got it. Jimmy works with his two sons, Louis and Daniel. Together they operate the stores and make deliveries. Cor-J ships seafood to well over 50 outlets including the Fulton Fish Market in the city, the Green Market, the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn markets, Wild by Nature in Hampton Bays and even all the way to Rhode Island. In the city their freshly caught seafood is sold from the early morning to very late at night. They send out two trailers filled with a huge and diverse selection of shellfish and fish every week. If you ever have a chance to go to the Fulton Fish Market you’re sure to see some fish from Cor-J.

The manager of the seafood department at Wild by Nature in Hampton Bays is named John Caliendo. He has been there since the store opened five years ago. He gets his swordfish, tuna and fluke from Cor-J. Caliendo knows that he can rely on Cor-J to get the best quality for his loyal customers. Caliendo used to own a seafood market in Queens with his brother before moving out of the city to the eastern end of Long Island.

Coronesi said that the best sellers of the summer are local squid, fluke and flounder. He points out that “squid is the number two seller, only second to French fries.” Cor-J mainly sells raw fish and other seafood. They do, however, sell Manhattan clam chowder and cooked shrimp made at Tully’s, which is right up the road on Foster Avenue.

Tully’s is a restaurant and seafood market all in one. There you can get fried, broiled or steamed seafood. They sell fried clams, fried shrimp, tuna salad and even cooked lobster tails ranging up to over three pounds. Now that’s a big one! The head chef at Tully’s is Gary Lattanzio, known to his friends as “Batman.”

With all the stiff competition in the Hamptons for seafood, it’s a testament to Cor-J’s quality and service that people come from all over the island, from as far east as Montauk, to shop there.

If you have a craving for fresh seafood, whether fried or baked, I highly recommend Tully’s. You’re sure to find an item on their menu that will please. They have seating inside and outside, so you can enjoy the sun and the ocean breeze.

Cor-J Seafood, 36 Light house Road, Hampton Bays, 631-728-5186.

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