MAYWOOD, N.J. — Soft shell crab has been flying off the shelves of Seafood Gourmet in Maywood ahead of Easter Sunday.
Longtime owner John Ciravolo says it's been a surprising fad for the past three weeks.
"It's amazing what people will eat," said Ciravolo of Hillsdale.
"You'd never think that would be a popular choice for Easter. We've sold a lot of it."
He anticipates that shrimp and king crab legs will be popular as appetizers, as they are almost every year.
Ciravolo can pretty much predict what's going to do well and when, as he's been running the store since 1955.
He was working at the neighboring convenience store when he heard that the former Seafood Gourmet owner was looking to sell the place.
Following his childhood dreams, Ciravolo bought the place out and, well, the rest is history .
"We've been a dying breed for the last 20 years," he said. "Everything is challenging these days."
His store is among the eight remaining in Bergen County, with a couple others in Passaic County.
It's a unique operation in that Ciravolo buys directly from the coasts, orders what he needs and 14 hours later, it's waiting for him in New York City.
He's up at 3 a.m. each day to pick up his products and then heads into Maywood.
"Chains don't have the ability to get this product from the boats to stores like we can," said Ciravolo, a father of two.
"The products that we find, no one can get."
These days, people want wild "everything," he said, especially salmon.
Ciravolo says his customers have been extremely loyal, and credits them for his success.
"It's been a good run," he said.