Centre Market was our first stop of the day in Wheeling, so it was too early for lunch when we arrived, but the customers were already beginning to line up at Coleman’s. After taking in the sights of the historic market (and what wonderful sites! local arts and crafts, historical displays and lots of interesting shops) we went back to Coleman's. The line was snaked around the crowd control ropes and the employees behind the registers and the counters were working like mad to keep up with the crowds.
There was lots to choose from, but we decided on basic fish sandwiches with tartar sauce and a large cup of cole slaw to share. Despite the lines, we moved fast and by time we got to the end of the counter, our order was bagged and ready to be picked up. Our sandwiches came wrapped in deli paper and the cole slaw was in a styrofoam cup with a lid. Boy did we hit the jackpot! The sandwiches are delicious. The fish is fresh... definitely tastes like fish, but not too fishy. The batter is crispy and light with just the right amount of seasoning. The tartar sauce has just the right amount of tang without overpowering the fish. And the cole slaw... crunchy, sweet, wonderful!
I can't wait to go back. There's lots to see in Wheeling, but I'd go back just for that fish sandwich and slaw!
"There's no fish fresher, no sandwich better than the one made by Coleman's. The crunch of these filets, seen in extreme close-up, is one of the most appetizing sounds on earth. And the taste ... and the aroma: forget about it!"
"Joe Coleman holds up one of the big filets of fish that will soon be cut into smaller filets to be breaded, fried, and sandwiched."
"A rare photo of Coleman's -- without a long line of people waiting to get their sandwiches."
"That's Joe Coleman, current owner of the fish market, in the foreground. The formidable gent pictured behind him is Joe's grandfather, who started the market in 1914."
"Coleman's is a highlight of the historic downtown marketplace. The market and the area surrounding it are worth a tour."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle