Coleman’s Fish Market

Review by: Michael Stern

Coleman’s Fish Market fish sandwich couldn’t be simpler: two pieces of soft white bread holding a cluster of steaming hot fried-fish filets. It is delivered across the order counter, wrapped in wax paper; then you find a table somewhere on the broad floor of the renovated century-old Wheeling Centre Market House, unwrap it, and feast.

What to eat at Coleman’s Fish Market in Wheeling, WV

Although fish sandwiches have long been its claim to fame, Coleman’s is a great place to eat other good seafood: the “Canadian white” sandwich (a bit more mild and “whiter” tasting than the regular fish), shrimp boats and baskets, fried clams, oysters, deviled crabs, and Cajun-spiced catfish. Coleman’s really is a fish market, and if you wait in the “Special Line” (as opposed to the “Regular Sandwich Line”), you can ask the staff to cook up just about any raw fish in the case, and pay for it by weight. On the side of whatever fish you get, there are French fries or Jo-Jo potatoes, and onion rings every day but Friday.

Coleman’s Fish Market was started by John Coleman in 1914 in the old city market (which itself dates back to 1890). Joe Coleman, grandson of John, keeps things up to date with the latest advances in nutritionally virtuous cooking oils; and the iron pavilion in which the market is located was handsomely renovated years ago. In the heart of a muscular city better known for steel and coal more than cooking, Coleman’s is a living legend of American gastronomy.

What To Eat

Fish Sandwich


Coleman’s Fish Market Recipes


What do you think of Coleman’s Fish Market?

One Response to “Coleman’s Fish Market”

Olivia Tejeda

November 29th, 2007

Centre Market was our first stop of the day in Wheeling, so it was too early for lunch when we arrived, but the customers were already beginning to line up at Coleman’s. After taking in the sights of the historic market (and what wonderful sites! local arts and crafts, historical displays and lots of interesting shops) we went back to Coleman’s. The line was snaked around the crowd control ropes and the employees behind the registers and the counters were working like mad to keep up with the crowds.

There was lots to choose from, but we decided on basic fish sandwiches with tartar sauce and a large cup of cole slaw to share. Despite the lines, we moved fast and by time we got to the end of the counter, our order was bagged and ready to be picked up. Our sandwiches came wrapped in deli paper and the cole slaw was in a styrofoam cup with a lid. Boy did we hit the jackpot! The sandwiches are delicious. The fish is fresh… definitely tastes like fish, but not too fishy. The batter is crispy and light with just the right amount of seasoning. The tartar sauce has just the right amount of tang without overpowering the fish. And the cole slaw… crunchy, sweet, wonderful!

I can’t wait to go back. There’s lots to see in Wheeling, but I’d go back just for that fish sandwich and slaw!


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