21st and 5th Avenue, Avalon
NJ (609) 967-7553
Sign Guest Book View
"Sylvester's in Avalon takes my prize
for the lumpiest simple crabcakes of the year (try the baked ones)."
LaBan Philadelphia Inquirer Restaurant Critic
The following review is from The Press of Atlantic City
weren't for the sign out front, you'd drive right by Sylvester's Fish
Market and Restaurant.
yourself some seafood at Sylvester's
Located in a residential area of Avalon, at the corner of 21st Street
and Fifth Avenue, Sylvester's appears to be an oversized bungalow. But
behind a 4-foot-high fence running alongside and behind the bungalow,
beneath a green canopy, there's seating ample enough for 175.
Hordes of people have been finding the place since 1978, when brothers
Fred and Steve Sylvester added the restaurant onto the fish market. Tom
Shute built the original fish market in 1944, using wood scavenged from
Into this highly successful business has stepped Bill Selgrath, a
36-year-old sales specialist originally from Montgomery County, Pa.,
with a rental property in Avalon and a hankering to own his own
restaurant. Assisted by much of his family - wife Bernadette, brothers
Chris and Matt, sister-in-law Elizabeth and father-in-law Bill Kugler -
Selgrath has had his wish granted.
He bought the place in May of this year, retaining key personnel. Dave
Borak has been with Sylvester's about 10 years, handling the prep crews
and expediting orders at night. Steve Sylvester Jr., involved in the
business from the start, helps manage the place. Mike Quinn has been in
the kitchen for 15 years.
Selgrath is determined not to mess with Sylvester's winning formula.
He's using the same purveyors the Sylvester brothers did. He's ordering
the same quality and amount of fish that the Sylvesters did. Employees
continue to cut the huge tuna fish and swordfish that come into the fish
market into fillets and steaks that are then displayed on ice.
"Sylvester's has always had fresh, large portions, the kind of
meals that people want to sit outside and eat with family and
friends," Selgrath says.
It's a concept that appealed to him when he ate at Sylvester's during
his stays in Avalon and clearly appeals to the people who wait patiently
in line for a table at the first-come, first-serve restaurant.
One of the restaurant's strong points is its attached fish market, a
quaint and nautically decorated room.
"Seeing what you're ordering, like at a steakhouse where you can
see the cut of beef before it's cooked, is important to people,"
Sylvester's signature dish is its crab cakes, available as a dinner entrée
for $18.95 fried or broiled. The restaurant also sells the crab cakes,
which are brimming with jumbo lump and jumbo backfin crab meat, for $9
to take home. Selgrath knows of one couple that buys enough crab cakes
to last them through the winter, doling them out two a month from the
time Sylvester's closes in late September until it reopens Memorial Day
This is how popular these crab cakes are: Sylvester's sells 300 a day,
which translates to 10,000 for the season. That's a lot of crab cakes.
And it does it without fuss. In an area where wealth is a fact of life,
Sylvester's is a reminder of a simpler time, a place where you can tuck
your sandy feet beneath a picnic table and not worry too much about how
loudly your little ones talk. All you need to do is bring your own beer
and a big appetite.
Prices for dinner start at $6.95 for a chicken fillet and range up to
$32.95 for filet mignon with a South African lobster tail.
WHAT: Sylvester's Fish Market and Restaurant
WHERE: 503 21st St., Avalon
WHEN: Open 4 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday to
Sunday. Last seating in the restaurant 8:45 p.m. Fish market open 9 a.m.
to 9 p.m. Friday to Sunday.
SERVICE: No liquor license; BYO. Diners Club, Discover, Mastercard and
Visa accepted. Children's menu (eight choices, $4.95 to $9.95). Disabled
access. Smoking permitted.
PRICE: Dinner entrees $6.95 to $32.95
FURTHER INFORMATION: (609) 967-7553
BETWEEN YOU AND ME: Sylvester's Fish Market and Restaurant in Avalon
takes its seafood seriously: The back of the takeout menu contains the
tide chart for summer 2002.
Menu | Market
| Reviews | Photos
Site best viewed at 1024 x 768
© All material is copyright protected.