Fjord Fish Market Teams with Popular “Flour Water Salt Bread” Bakery in Cos Cob’s Hub

There is exciting news coming out of Cos Cob’s hub.

Fjord Fish Market is moving next door into a bigger space vacated by Fleishers Craft Butchery, and teaming up with a popular Darien-based baker Rob VanKeuren of Flour Water Salt Bread.

Fjord is operated by Jim Thistle, who bought the business in 2012. He lives with his family in Darien where he met lifelong resident, VanKeuren.

Jim Thistle of Fjord Fish Market and Rob VanKeuren outside 160 East Putnam Ave in Cos Cob where they will share space very soon. Oct 2, 2023 Photo: Leslie Yager

Thistle and VanKeuren share similar stories, both having left the world of finance to pursue something more fulfilling and entrepreneurial. Operating around the corner from each other in Darien, Fjord became a wholesale customer of the bakery, selling their baguettes.

Fjord, which is known for fresh, responsibly-sourced seafood, has grown, not only to add sushi counters, but expanded to five locations outside Cos Cob including Darien, Westport, Larchmont, New Canaan and Park Slope in Brooklyn.

And since the end of last year, Fjord has also operated Northeast Fish Company, a distribution center in Fulton Fish Market to facilitate fresh seafood deliveries to restaurants and all the Fjord locations every morning.

“They put an order at 7:00pm and have fresh fish when they open the following morning,” Thistle said. “It’s been a busy year.”

When Fleishers at 160 East Putnam Ave closed, Thistle said he was interested in the space because it offered 300 more square feet and was already built out for food service.

Even better, with the larger space, Thistle was able to invite VanKeuren to join him.

“I had been looking for space in Greenwich for a year and a half, but spaces are usually on the bigger side,” VanKeuren said. “Then, one Saturday, Jim called me up with a crazy idea.”

“I was literally standing in the huge line outside,” said Thistle of the line that forms in the morning outside Four Water Salt Bread. “The place is phenomenal.”

“Rob has built a cult-like following,” Thistle continued. “And we’re trying to associate ourselves with others offering the same level of food as we are, and bring the best products to market.”

VanKeuren, who already has some customers who travel from Greenwich to Darien, said that after his nine staff and bakers were bumping into each other in his 800 sq ft space in Darien, he opened a large production facility in Stamford.

He plans to bring fresh bread and pastry to Cos Cob every morning and operate a coffee station there too.

What’s popular at Flour Water Salt Bread?

“Pastry made in-house, including fancy donuts, take-and-bake pizzas, take-and-bake croissants, big cinnamon buns with orange cream icing made with the croissant dough,” VanKeuren said.

Also popular is the brioche cinnamon coffee cake that customers describe as nostalgic and comforting.

“I grew up on Entenmann’s,” VanKeuren recalled. “It was so good. And for a lot of people, baked goods give a happy, warm nostalgic feeling because they remember Sunday family breakfasts or after dinner cake or birthday cupcakes.”

“We’ll do all our own pastries, which are Viennese-style,” VanKeuren explained. “Croissants, pain au chocolat with dark chocolate, ham & cheese croissants with French country ham and aged Comte cheese, Danish pastry, cinnamon rolls, and kouignoù-amann, which is like a caramel a salted caramel croissant muffin – it’s fantastic.”

Sourdough offerings include large sourdough loaves (sliced or unsliced), baguettes, bagels and an organic wholewheat option.

“We also make English muffins and chocolate cake donuts (Thistle’s favorite),” he added.

“Jim and I are like-minded, ingredient and process driven purveyors bringing a quality product that customers appreciate,” VanKeuren said.

Amen! See you in Cos Cob.