Few people have the opportunity, or the courage, to do what they love. At a time when any career seems to require compromises, only a select number of bold individuals are willing to risk the assured paycheck and benefits of a job and strike out on their own. It is easier for most to endure a known unhappiness rather than reach for an unsure future.
Bo Koebel, owner of Bo’s Seafood Market and Grill, is one of the few. Located at 1040 University Avenue in Hillcrest, Bo’s Seafood opened its doors on July 10, 2010. Growing up in Los Angeles, Bo always knew he wanted to be self employed. He came to San Diego to attend SDSU, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 2004.
For as long as he can remember, it has his dream to own a seafood market and restaurant. His grandfather, also named Bo, and whom he named the business after, had taught him to fish. Growing up, they would go out on his grandfather boat, exploring the California lakes and seas together.
All his life, whether it was catching thresher sharks off Newport or sailfish in Costa Rica, fishing was his passion. He had been working on the idea for the business for years, when graduation began to loom nearer in 2003, he knew he had to make a decision to either pursue his dream or sacrifice it for a job.
At the time, all the seafood options he saw were either overpriced restaurants or frozen fish shipped in. Seeing a need, he began to do some serious research.
Bo wanted the restaurant to be a reflection of the southern California climate he had grown up in and loved, and wanted to share the fish he had come to know so well. Featuring local fresh caught species, and regional beers, wines, and breads, the simply decorated location offers the best of what California has to offer.
With a simple décor, the market has a casual and comfortable informal atmosphere. Walking up to the large display at the counter, rows of fresh south pacific species; yellowtail, tuna, salmon, shrimp, squid, mussels, crab, and white seabass, just to name a few. Bo’s likes to support the local fisherman so keeps the fish local as possible.
Whether you are picking something up on the way home for dinner or are just about to enjoy one of their fish sandwiches, you select exactly what type and cut you want and everything is either weighed and wrapped or made to order right there in front of you. As Bo describes it, “Here, we don’t have any ‘hidden fish’”.
he food is made simply, with no marinades or sauces to hide or cover the taste. Bo explains that when fish is fresh, it has a subtle and firm flavor and texture that most people never get to try, “the fish should be the star of the dish, you should be able to taste the quality and freshness of the seafood.”
The sea bass salad is a great dish to begin with. On top of the salad with lemon, garlic, olive oil house dressing, the fish is filling enough for a full and satisfying lunch, but not so much that you’ll be stuck carrying leftovers home.
The ceviche with cod is a delicious appetizer on the menu. The chips are large and thick enough to hold a full mouthful without breaking. The fish pops on your tongue with the onion, herbs, and citrus giving the flaky meat a zest that is accentuated by the chips salt and the diced tomatoes sweetness making this a refreshing way to start a meal.
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