The City of Portland has a long history as a fishing port, and Custom House Wharf has played an integral part in that history. While many of Portland’s wharves today have been taken over by modern buildings and varied uses, Custom House Wharf has pretty much remained the same. Located on the waterside across from Portland’s historic Custom House Building, Custom House Wharf has been home to many fish dealers and processors over the years… Most currently, Commercial Bait company does business on the end of the wharf and Harbor Fish Market at the top of the wharf. The two long rows of ramshackle buildings on the wharf were built in the 1930’s and have housed fish dealers, small businesses, ferry terminals and restaurants ever since. For over 90 years this wharf has been owned by the same family, which keeps development to a minimum, and keeps the wharf looking “quaint”. Fisherman and lobstermen still tie their boats up here, repair traps and mend nets here and thousands of tourists take photos on this wharf. When people walk into Harbor Fish Market, they see a continuation of the ‘historic vibe’ of the wharf. Harbor Fish has been operating since 1966, and though there have been many updates to the store since then, if you look beyond the new fish cases and coolers, you will see the old store, and fishmongers behind the case and in the office, fresh fish, good pricing, and knowledgeable staff ready to help.
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1 Custom House Wharf was the site of Maine’s first Chinese restaurant opened by Ar Tee Lam in 1880. It lasted until 1893.