THE STORY OF HOW CALAMARI (SQUID) CAME TO BE SERVED AT THE GLOUCESTER HOUSE AND OTHER LOCAL RESTAURANTS AS TOLD BY MICHAEL LINQUATA
This is a story of an unusual creature that made good. This creature was known as “squid”. Today it is called calamari. When it was known as squid there were no sales of this product. It was not on any restaurant’s menu. It just had no appeal to the public or to restaurant cooks or owners.
Prior to 1950, the Gloucester fishing fleet would have some mixed in with their catch of other fish such as whiting or ocean perch. The fishermen did not get paid for this product. It was considered waste.
However, some of the workers, including this author, would on occasion take some home to be cooked. In my case, I had to do the cooking because the squid would have some water in them and this would splatter. I overcame the problem, but I kept the job.
Sometimes if I had cooked more than the family could consume I would bring the extra to the fish workers. Many had never eaten this before. Now there wasn’t as much waste. The workers started to bring some home to be cooked.
About a year later I assumed the position of manager of the Gloucester House Restaurant. Now I had to teach the cooks how to prepare the squid for cooking, then the proper timing to cook, then I had to overcome the dining room staff’s reluctance to suggest this item to the customers.
We overcame these problems by first changing the name from “squid” to “calamari”. Then to introduce the product, for about a year, we put a small sample on each table for customers to try at no cost. Then the next year we put it on the printed menu.
Today there are probably a thousand restaurants in the United States that have calamari (not squid) on their menus. We think that ours is still the best.
This started in Gloucester, by the Gloucester House Restaurant and the Linquata family, the owners of the Gloucester House Restaurant.