After a 12-year absence, Henry Kowalewski’s famous tartar sauce and fish batter recipe made its return — in Rochester.

The Hot Fish Shop opened Tuesday at its new location and served about 80 for lunch, said Rick Coshenet, the general manager and Kowalewski’s great-grandson.

Coshenet said he was pleased with the turnout. “We haven’t done any advertising other than the news stories,” he said. “We just wanted to come out of the gates good.”

The original Hot Fish Shop opened in Winona on Christmas night 1931, when Kowalewski served a meal of shrimp salad, two pike fillets, cabbage salad and french fries for 35 cents. After 70 years in business, the restaurant abruptly closed in February 1999, with owner Nancy Coshenet citing “tremendous overhead” as the reason.

Customers teased friends and family Tuesday by calling or texting them while eating at the Hot Fish Shop. One remarked to Coshenet that “your grandpa would be proud.”

While the Hot Fish Shop is waiting on a permit to serve beer, Coshenet predicted turnout for dinner service would be just as strong.

“Its exciting to see people come in,” he said. “Tonight’s going to be really good."

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