You probably expect me to tell you that our family comes from a long line of crabbers who works right off the Chesapeake Bay and has been in the seafood business for generations and generations. That’s not the case. I’m here to share the story of my dad and his brother who escaped Iran to live the American Dream.
By now you are probably wondering: Why Seafood?
If you know my father then the story I am about to tell will not be shocking. My father, Allen Manesh, a hard-working Iranian immigrant, arrived in the United States in 1975. He started working in real estate and quickly realized that he needed a cash-flowing side-business to provide some “grocery money”. I would describe my dad’s personality as a hustler with boyish innocence peppered by his heavy persian accent. He was about 32 years old when he asked his younger brother Bijan (my uncle) to open a fruit stand on a triangular piece of land he purchased on Route 355 otherwise known as Rockville Pike (Maryland). Bijan looks like an angry bull-dog but once you get to know him he has a really soft heart.
After purchasing the land, my dad went to Florida to “perform some market research on the fruit business” when he found himself deep sea fishing. The captain of the ship got to know Allen and was inquiring about what he did for a living. “I’m going to open a fruit stand.” The Captain paused and said, “listen, if you took a paper bag from a grocery store and filled it with apples, bananas, oranges and strawberries then how much would you charge for the produce?” Allen replied, “$25”. The captain continued: “OK…if you filled the same bag with fish how much could you charge? Allen went to Florida to open a fruit stand and returned to open a seafood market.
In 1985, Cameron’s Seafood Market was born.
Iranians are known to prepare massive quantities of food and share it with the entire neighborhood until there is just enough left to feed themselves. True to their Persian heritage, their mission was not only to sell seafood but also to prepare and serve it to their customers at an affordable price so that everyone could enjoy delicious seafood.
Today, we sell a wide variety of fresh fish, which you can get raw, fried, or broiled. Or you can get takeout fresh seafood sandwiches, fried seafood platters with french fries and coleslaw or broiled fish platters with cajun rice and fresh vegetables. The best sellers however are Maryland Blue Crabs, Maryland Crab Cakes, and spiced shrimp.
What’s next for Cameron’s Seafood?
Business has been great for the last 32 years but it is now time for the new generation to take over. In June 2017, my cousin Peymon (Bijan’s son) and I embarked on a new journey to expand the family business and spread the taste of Maryland all over the USA. The next era of Cameron’s Seafood began with the introduction of our new logo and website and the launch of our online store. We can’t wait to share our delicious seafood with the rest of the nation!
I will be blogging about past, present and future journeys and share our experiences with Maryland seafood for you to enjoy. We will discuss current events, share recipes and how-to’s and recount more stories about our crazy family.