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A FISH STORY: South Side market reels in a steady stream of loyal customers

It will not remind you of the pristine fish displays at Whole Foods or whichever supermarket you visit, but the seafood at Market Fisheries is a wonder to behold and, to hear tell, pretty tasty once it has been taken home and cooked. On most days the tiny shop at 7129 S. State St., hard by the Dan Ryan Expressway, is jammed with shoppers, each holding a numbered piece of paper signifying his or her place in a line that often snakes out the door and each ogling as many as 25 species of fresh fish, as well as oysters, chicken and all manner of frozen fish. "I'll have 20 pounds of chicken wings," George Thornton shouted before turning to tell us, "I just bought 20 pounds two days ago. This is barbecue season, and it's like I'm feeding my whole neighborhood." It was a relatively quiet Sunday morning -- the store is open seven days a week -- but the stream of customers was steady and lively and friendly. Janice Gates lives in South Bend and stops at the store "every time I am in Chicago." Now that she has some time on her hands, having recently retired after 30 years with AT Photo for the Tribune by Charles Osgood