If it doesn’t feel like home the first time you walk through the door of Joey & Kimmy’s Seafood Market & Restaurant, it will the second. It doesn’t take long to become a regular at a place that prizes relationships.
The establishment, housed in an unassuming building on U.S. Highway 1 at Eighteenth Street, has been a Vero Beach staple since Joey Fenyak opened the doors of Joey’s Seafood Shack in 2010. A fish counter on your left is stocked with fresh local and Northern seafood, flown in daily. “If we don’t have it, we can get it,” Joey says.
That confidence comes from the network of relationships he’s built during a half-century in the seafood industry. He started as a child digging clams for pocket change in Long Island and then parlayed that experience into a 32-year career at the Fulton Fish Market. When warmer climes tugged on the line in 2002, he took the bait, headed to Miami, and spent the next eight years wholesaling seafood all over the state. In 2010, the time seemed right to open a fish market in Vero Beach.
Enter Kimmy Coveny, who comes from a family of restaurant owners. She brought the hospitality, her family’s Italian seafood recipes, a singing voice she inherited from her rock-star mother, Lynn Nixon of the Aquatones, and chops on the piano, which still gets plenty of use in a corner of the restaurant.
Crisp white linens elevate the ambience of the dining room, nestled in among shelves well stocked with specialty crackers, stuffed olives, pastas (including Brooklyn’s famed Pastosa), boutique wines, and more. Cold cases are filled with cheeses and “take and bake items,” including eggplant parmigiana, lobster bisque, and customer favorite goat cheese ravioli. Want something different? Kimmy will prepare it so you can take it home and pop it into the oven. Would you rather just get the recipe and prepare it yourself? She’ll do that, too.
Today, the market is open, and lunch is served six days a week. Dinners are reserved for private parties and invitation-only events. “Things just fall into place,” Kimmy says, looking back over the years. “It’s a labor of love.”
Kimmy’s Seafood Special
This Italian seafood stew originated in a residential neighborhood of Naples. The shellfish are cooked in a light marinara sauce with wine and seasonings. The dish can be served on its own with a good, crusty Italian bread or, if preferred, over pasta.
12 littleneck clams
3 tbsp. butter plus a splash of olive oil (to keep butter from burning)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups dry white wine
10 medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
10 sea scallops
1 lb. squid, cut into rings
Course sea salt (to help draw out sand during soaking)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 (12-ounce) can diced tomatoes (or about 1 lb. plum tomatoes)
6 bay leaves
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine (we use Cabernet)
Place clams and mussels in a bath of cold water and add 1/4 cup coarse sea salt per 4 cups of water. Stir and soak for 30 minutes to remove any sand and grit.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, begin the marinara sauce by heating olive oil and adding onion and garlic. Sauté over low to medium heat until soft and translucent. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, parsley, and wine, and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring often. (If using plum tomatoes, blend quickly in a food processor first, resulting in a slightly chunky consistency.)
Drain the clams and mussels and scrub well with a wire brush under running water. Remove the beard from the mussels.
In a large sauté pan, melt butter and add garlic, clams, and mussels. Then add wine, cover, and simmer about 5 minutes or until the shells open. Discard any unopened shells.
Add shrimp, scallops, and squid; simmer just long enough for the shrimp to turn pink and the scallops and squid to become opaque.
Remove bay leaves from the marinara sauce and add the sauce to the seafood. Heat through and serve immediately.
Kimmy’s Baked Clams Oreganata with Feta
The addition of feta cheese transforms this classic into a sensational appetizer.
12 topneck clams in the shell
1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
2–3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/2 tbsp. butter
Splash of white wine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
To facilitate shucking the clams, spread them on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 2–3 minutes. Using a clam knife, pry open each shell, discarding the top shells.
In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, garlic, olive oil, and salt
and blend well.
Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top of each clam to the edges of its shell, making sure the mixture covers the clam sufficiently to keep it moist. Then sprinkle the feta on top, dab with butter and wine, and bake 12–15 minutes. Serve immediately.
This versatile dish can be prepared in layers, lasagna-style, or rolled.
2–3 eggplants (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
1–2 cups Italian bread crumbs, as needed to cover eggplant
1/2 cup Romano cheese
1/2 cup fresh or shredded mozzarella cheese
Sea salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil (for frying)
Kimmy’s Homemade Marina Sauce
(see previous recipe)
Ricotta Cheese Mixture
1 lb. ricotta cheese
Drain excess moisture from ricotta if necessary. Beat eggs lightly and combine all ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Slice eggplant lengthwise (not too thick). Beat eggs lightly and dip each eggplant slice, coating it. Sprinkle each slice with salt and press with bread crumbs.
In a frying pan, heat olive oil. When oil is hot, fry eggplant until golden brown; flip and fry on opposite side. Place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Distribute ricotta mixture over all slices and roll as pictured. Cover with sauce and then sprinkle with Romano and mozzarella. Instead of rolling, the ingredients can be layered flat (like lasagna). Coat bottom of a baking pan with marinara sauce and add a layer of eggplant slices. Cover with cheese and sauce and repeat for approximately 4 layers.
Bake about 20 minutes.
Kimmy’s Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
Whether preparing Kimmy’s signature Greek salad (romaine and/or arugula, baby tomatoes, English cucumber, yellow and orange bell pepper, shaved carrot, feta, and strawberries) or your own favorite salad, this dressing is sure to please.
1 part balsamic vinegar
3 parts extra virgin olive oil
Honey, to taste
Combine all ingredients and shake or blend. Keep refrigerated.