TJ’s Seafood Market & Grill No Longer Sells Tilapia

Why does the premier fishmonger of Dallas hate this fish?

Here comes another tip of the cap to Jon Alexis, the man who has almost single-handedly, raised the profile of seafood in Dallas with TJ’s Seafood Market. Alexis is a tireless promoter of swimming protein.

Alexis has taken his family’s small seafood market in Preston Forest and turned it into two successful restaurants, both  with take-out seafood markets attached. In-between accepting daily orders, he’s managed to get married and father two children.

Yesterday Alexis sent word that he will no longer sell tilapia in his restaurants or markets. According to Alexis, tilapia doesn’t meet his criteria for healthy protein which includes low calories, lean with minimal saturated fat, and crucial Omega-3 unsaturated fats. “Tilapia misses on these benefits,” Alexis says. “Not only is it bland, but contains fats as bad for you as bacon!”

Alexis claims there are a lot of conflicting reports about nutrition in tilapia. They range from doomsday “it’s terrible for you because it is loaded with bad fats” to “there really isn’t enough of those bad fats for it to be significant, but it definitely doesn’t have the positive health benefits of other fish.” Since neither of those statements are ringing endorsements and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, tilapia is not a fish Alexis chooses to sell anymore. Which is a big deal considering he sold over 1,100 pounds in 2016.  “I want to speak broadly to our customers about the health benefits of eating 2-3 servings of fresh fish a week,” Alexis says. “ I don’t want to have one fish in there [the case] that requires an asterisk.”

I’d say this is a radical position from a guy who passed out samples of smoked salmon at Meat Fight just a few spots down from the folks at Heim Barbecue who offered bacon-wrapped burnt ends.

No matter where you buy seafood, Alexis urges you to ask questions about your purchases. Where did it come from? Is it farm-raised? If so, where. If it is wild, is it an over-fished species? “There is a lot of confusion about fish, Alexs says. “I will not sell you a fish that I wouldn’t feed to my own family.”