The Lox Kings are Back

Sables Smoked Fish on Second Avenue reopens for curbside pickup and delivery

| 19 Apr 2020 | 05:36

A staple on the UES for 30 years, Sables Smoked Fish had never closed its doors. Not for Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Year’s.

Yet, when COVID-19 hit, brothers Danny and Kenny Sze, who have owned the store for three decades, made the decision to shutter from March 28 to April 15.

During those 18 days they sanitized and bought gloves and masks for employees to wear at all times. They are doing curbside pickup and delivery and encourage everyone to call ahead.

“We are committed to protecting the health of you and our employees,” they said on Facebook. “Thank you all so much for your patience and encouragement during this uncertain time. We will get through this together. Stay safe and healthy!”

The business, located at 1489 Second Ave., which is known for their sable, caviar, salmon and much more, has never experienced anything like this, Danny Sze said.

According to Sze, he did not anticipate the coronavirus would cause this much chaos.

He worked through 9/11, Hurricane Sandy and the recession in 2008, but today there is so much that is unknown.

“Nobody has gone through this in their lifetime,” he said.

Sze noted that in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood of the UES it was tough to be closed on Passover. Many people typically come to him for matzoh ball soup and fish for the holiday.

With a small staff and reduced hours - from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. - he is barely getting by. Normally he does about 30 catering jobs a week, but is now down 65 percent in profits.

"The Twilight Zone"

While customers appreciate that Sables is open, they may not see the harsh reality that many small businesses are facing.

“It’s like the twilight zone,” Sze said. “It’s scary because you don’t know how you are going to pay rent.”

Another challenge is the fact that the federal government stimulus package of $350 billion for small businesses ran out and Sables got nothing. He applied and is hoping to receive something if they do a second rollout.

Sze told Our Town that even though he’s been open a few days, it’s not the same. Saturdays are normally jam-packed with a line out the door and this past weekend was like a ghost town.

Looking ahead, he is fearful for what the future holds for small businesses. While some may reopen, others may be forced to hang it up.

“It will take months to reopen,” he said. “The worst thing is the restaurants are hurt the most. This will change how people operate. Our lifestyle won’t be the same. Life is short; all the money that you make won’t make a difference.”

In the midst of all of this, Sze was preparing to open a new larger store and close this one. However, because construction was forced to a halt, the new eatery at 76th and Third likely won’t open until July.

“The UES, they’ve known us for 30 years,” he remarked. “My customers are loyal customers.”

“Nobody has gone through this in their lifetime.” Sables co-owner Danny Sze