TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2017 AT 7 A.M.
“Charter boat!” Sig Ozols barks when he answers his cell phone. For years, the burly 50-year-old with the long blond hair of a Viking (even though he’s Latvian) has run a 48-foot sport fishing boat out of Coconut Grove’s Dinner Key Marina. He began fishing nearly three decades ago after his dad, fresh from a divorce, asked him to drive his car and some clothes to Florida from Indianapolis. He was hooked immediately, like so many from the frozen North lured by the swaying palm trees and balmy breezes. “He just asked me to check it out, and I never went back,” Ozols says.
He’d done some freshwater fishing as a kid in Indiana, and when he got to Miami, he was drawn back to it. A few stints on a drift boat led to three decades as a commercial fisherman hand- and line-finishing throughout Florida and the Caribbean. During many of those years, particularly in Florida, Ozols and other charter boat captains were able to sell their day’s catch right off their boats. That came to an end several years ago, but the move ended up seeding what would become Ozols’ lifelong dream: owning a fish market.
Late last October, Ozols and longtime Scotty’s Landing bartender Indira Funes opened Shore to Door (3380 SW 37th Ave., Miami; 305-529-3471) in a narrow sky-blue space on Douglas Road in Coconut Grove. The bustle of the West Grove — one of Miami’s most vibrant, underserved, and historic black communities — floods the space through the place’s screen door. Off to one side, find a gleaming cooler packed with crushed ice and the day’s offerings: cobia, Malbec-hued hunks of yellowfin tuna, and yellow-eyed snapper from the Bahamas. Funes stands in the far corner of the room, ready to answer any questions or scoop out of a container of snappy dressed conch speckled with crisp red and green peppers.