Foodies

‘Like a hook.’ Local fish house has a special sauce that brings brings me back in time

It is easy to overlook the Fish Port 2. It is located next to a gas station on Montpelier Avenue. The inside is small with about four booths that line the walls at the front of the store. Loud sizzles fill the air as fish is dropped into the fryer.

This is a place that has been serving the Middle Georgia community with tasty fish, lemonade and a famous sauce for over 30 years.

As a kid, my dad would bring me to the Fish Port and talk about the times that he and my mom would stop in for a bite to eat. His favorite part was the dock sauce, an orange dipping sauce that has become locally famous. When the first drop touched my tongue, I was hooked.

This week marks the two-year anniversary of my dad’s murder. This was one of the many restaurants that he and I bonded at while growing up here in Macon.

I had been craving the dock sauce recently and the memories that he and I shared there. But I hadn’t been since we made a trip there a few years ago before they shut down for a short period of time.

Luckily for me and many other Middle Georgia residents, Demetrius Knight decided to bring back his uncle’s restaurant. Knight said his uncle’s health had declined, forcing the restaurant to close. He saw a need to bring it back as people from all over had been asking for it to return.

“I took it over in 2017. It has been a local favorite here in the area for a minute now,” Knight said. “It was a family establishment. I didn’t want to see it go down because everyone in the local community was begging for it to come back.”

Knight said the community response to the restaurant’s return has been great. When they first opened back up, the entire parking lot was filled to capacity with people trying to get in the doors.

“It has been amazing. Seeing them come through the doors smiling, all different types of faces,” Knight said. “They smile when they leave out. Some even call me when they have enjoyed their food and tell me about their experience. It has all been amazing and I love the community.”

Some customers were worried that items like the fish and dock sauce might have changed with the restaurant’s return, Knight said. But nothing has changed and he is happy to keep it that way.

“It is a good little spot that you can bring your family to,” Knight said. “Everything is still the same… I couldn’t ask for nothing better.”

The restaurant hasn’t changed at all, but my world has been flipped upside down since the last time I came to visit.

My dad had a love for the food in this town that he had spent much of his life in. It is one of the many things that I tend to take after him.

Many of my favorites moments growing up were inside a restaurant booth with him sitting there. I still remember going out as a kid to Waffle House on Pio Nono Avenue and him cutting up my “chicken chunks” as he called them.

He introduced me to a lot of places in the area like the Fish Port 2. It is in places like that I still feel closest to him. It is where we bonded and shared our mutual love for food and one another.

This week is one of the toughest of the year for me and my family. But I found refuge inside this small fish house on Montpelier Avenue as it brought back great memories for me and I finally got my fix of the dock sauce I had been craving.

Dock sauce

This sauce is locally famous for a reason. It can be poured on just about anything and has a little bit of a kick to it. The texture is similar to tarter sauce but this is next level.

It is a special family recipe that has been around since the restaurant started. Knight said that it was the item that he was most excited to bring back for diners.

“It is like a hook. It going to attract you, catch you and reel you in,” Knight said. “You definitely have to come through and try it out.”

People don’t just use it on fish. They ask for it in place of mayonnaise on their chicken sandwiches and dip fries in it. Jason Vorhees, my lunch partner for the day, suggested adding it to the coleslaw. I had to try that and it made the coleslaw even better by adding a zesty tang.

Entrees

I went with three-piece whiting meal. The fish is seasoned with a special batter that offers up a burst of flavor on its own. It was a nice golden brown and hugged tight to the fish. That is important because it has to be able to stand up to the dipping action of the dock sauce. While the sauce is great, the seasoning in the batter is tasty on its own.

The pieces are large so expect some leftovers, or diners can change up the quantity if they want less. Aside from the whiting, Fish Port also serves catfish, tilapia, pangasius, trout and mullet.

Jason opted for the Super Dock fish sandwich. It comes with two pieces of fish in between white bread and is topped with cheese, tomato, lettuce and a generous coating of dock sauce. Jason said that he appreciates the simplicity of the white bread as it does its job of transporting all the other flavors to your mouth. It is a little messy so make sure to have the napkins ready.

Knight recommends this sandwich for those who are visiting for the first time.

Sides

The side options were pretty standard for a fried fish joint. My meal came with coleslaw and a helping of fries, while the Super Dock came with just fries — crinkle-cut fries, to be exact, that had a nice, soft texture.

The coleslaw went really well with the fish and I found myself torn between dipping it in the dock sauce and the coleslaw (but hey, there’s always Jason’s suggestion of combining the two). They have other options like onions rings, potato salad, okra and hushpuppies.

They offer just two types of lemonades as their beverages: lemonade and peach lemonade. This might be the best lemonade around as it is really sweet and just has overall great taste.

Cost

Three-piece Whiting dinner: $8.99

Super Dock combo: $8.99

Lemonade: $1.59

The Fish Port 2

Location: 2795 Montpelier Ave, Macon

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12:30-7 p.m; Closed on Monday and Sunday

Price range: $4-$15

Justin Baxley is the fan life reporter at The Telegraph and writes stories centered around entertainment, food and sports in the Macon community. Justin joined the Telegraph staff after graduating from Mercer University in May 2017 with a degree in criminal justice and journalism. During his time at Mercer he served as the sports editor for The Cluster.
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