Since the late 1990s, Tom’s Seafood, at 767 South Xenon Court, has been a local favorite in Lakewood to pick up the freshest fish and more. These days, the store is in the third set of owners – Maggie and Apos Kourakis – and has been rebranded to Tom’s Seafood & Gourmet Market to better suit the couple’s desire to bring more mundane flavors to the store, which they frequented for years before taking the reins.
A little over two years ago, Maggie and Apus, both geologists and culinary enthusiasts who had always dreamed of opening a Mediterranean market, decided that owning the local gem was their next chapter. “When we bought it, the focus was primarily on the fish, which still is, but we definitely developed the gourmet side of it,” Maggie explains. “We wanted to make it more of an international market.”
Store shelves are lined with foods like kombucha, kimchi, honey, chicken broth, and more, and many of their products come from local vendors.
Additionally, Tom serves up good, home-made foods, such as clam chowder and smoked salmon, and is currently into fresh produce such as morels; The couple installed several shelves and freezers to house the new batch of items. Apos adds that many of them are merchandise “you can’t find anywhere else in Denver.”
But don’t worry, original Tom’s fans, as the new owners have kept the great offerings of fresh seafood in the original store, with a huge canister filled with fish, crabs, mussels and more – many of which are flown straight from the sea shores and never frozen.
“It’s constantly evolving,” Maggie says of bringing more vendors into the fold, noting that she and Apos spend “hours” taste-testing products to make sure they’re fit for the shop, even involving previous owners in the process. “It has grown organically,” she adds.
Apos notes, “Everything is specially curated by us.” “We have such a small space that we all try it, say, ‘That’s good,’ and put it in there.”
The duo hope to expand one day, whether that means adopting the adjacent space and tearing down some walls, or moving to a larger site entirely.
“We have people every day who walk by us and say, ‘You know, I’ve been around here for twenty years and never got in,'” Maggie says. [Alameda] or something like that. I would like to have at least twice the space we have now.”
Additionally, Maggie and Apos have talked about the possibility of opening a lunch table to add to the Lakewood dining scene, with dreams of serving po’boys, ceviche and poke.
But so far, she says, being a small business owner has been a great thing. “I feel like a lot of our clients are our friends too,” she gushing, noting that the couple live nearby. It’s our community, and it’s nice to feel like a big part of it.”
Having been in Lakewood for a long time, the store has amassed a large following, and with quality products, Maggie and Apuse watch customers cross state lines to get their hands on some selections, while locals often come several times a week. “It’s amazing to see how many fans we started as clients of Tom [the original owner]Maggie notes.
Apos concludes: “And then you have people who have become frenzied fans of the last owners and they keep coming, and then of course you have the people we brought in, so there are generations of customers, and that’s a neat ok.”