Our Story

Their seafood business began with Jim Catanese selling fish out of the back of his 1971 pea-green Dodge Dart. He went door- to- door convincing people that his seafood was the freshest in town. Soon after that modest start, Jim and John Catanese opened Waterfront Seafoods in 1982. “I had to convince customers that we supplied a “little better” fish than the other companies,” said Jim. “It was because of this that I became highly motivated into finding better quality seafood for Cleveland restaurants.”

Our Story

Their seafood business began with Jim Catanese selling fish out of the back of his 1971 pea-green Dodge Dart. He went door- to- door convincing people that his seafood was the freshest in town. Soon after that modest start, Jim and John Catanese opened Waterfront Seafoods in 1982. “I had to convince customers that we supplied a “little better” fish than the other companies,” said Jim. “It was because of this that I became highly motivated into finding better quality seafood for Cleveland restaurants.”

Twenty-two years later, the brothers partnered with Kevin Durkin and set up shop in a 7,500 square foot warehouse on the East Bank of the Flats. Catanese Classic Seafood was born. Today, the Catanese family is still serving the best seafood to the finest restaurants, country clubs, hotels, and retailers throughout Ohio.

Our staff has grown quite a bit from the days when three employees stepped through the doors to work along the Cuyahoga Riverfront. Since then, Catanese Classic Seafood’s staff has expanded to 120 and includes a sales team with food service professionals from every area of the industry. 

We’ve expanded our line of products too. Catanese Classic Cheese leverages the knowledge of cheese wizard Robert Ledzianowski to provide an assortment of traditional and rare cheeses from all over the world. Chef Cube Classics, a partnership with Culinary Institute of America graduate Dion Tsevdos, brings new and exciting products to top chefs, caterers, and restaurants. And in 2020, we brought in John Cameron to run our Catanese Classic Meats division. He will be committed to sourcing, processing, and delivering the highest quality, responsibly raised meat products.

Some things have remained consistent throughout the years: a commitment to quality, service and determination. “Treat people like you want to be treated and never give up” is our secret to success. 

We want to be more available and serviceable to customers so we’re more like partners than just their supplier. This dedication has earned us the American Culinary Federation Purveyor of the Year award in 2013, 2014, and 2015. We follow the strict guidelines of HACCP regulations and carry an Interstate Shellfish Certification. We also work with third party auditor Siliker to make sure our processes adhere to the most current guidelines.

It’s still a family-owned business though. The next generation of Catanese, Jim’s son Jimmy and John’s son Joey, work alongside 35-year veterans in our purchasing department. It’s important they learn the business from the ground up helping to pave the way for them to continue the family business. In fact, we are looking forward to exciting growth in the near future. We plan to move into a new facility in 2022 and have all our business lines under one roof. Along with our staff and future generations, it’s our hope to continue this company and serving the community for a very long time.