Fishnet, a seafood restaurant near the University of Maryland that lured mackerel and bluefish lovers to College Park, closed this week after eight years of business that included an unsuccessful bid to expand into D.C. A sister location in Baltimore remains open.
Founding partner Keyia Yalcin, chef Ferhat Yalcin’s wife, tells Maryland student newspaper the Diamondback that the restaurant’s sales never recovered from a dip that followed this winter’s extended federal government shutdown.
“You wouldn’t look on the surface and think it would affect us,” she told the newspaper. “The reality is, a lot of [our customers] work for the government, whether that’s NASA or the FDA.”
Ferhat Yalcin, a former general manager of Corduroy, built the restaurant on his relationships with purveyors and his commitment to selling balik ekmek, or “fish bread,” a grilled mackerel or bluefish sandwich that’s ubiquitous in Istanbul. To appeal to Western palates, he built sandwiches out of salmon, tuna, mahi mahi, crab, and fried hake or rockfish.
In 2014, Fishnet opened a location in Shaw that never found a firm foothold in the rapidly changing neighborhood mixing an aging African-American population with the gentrifying set. Washingtonian reported that old-timers in the neighborhood balked at $12 sandwiches, and Yalcin scrambled to make the restaurant more attractive by debuting a “Fishnook” tasting menu. That Fishnet closed in 2015 and rebranded as a new restaurant called Drift on 7th in early 2016. It closed last year.