It’s so hard to say goodbye. Unfortunately, fans of Ekiben’s Tackle Box will have to do just that: The restaurant recently announced in an Instagram post that the fried catfish dish will be taken off of the menu.

“How am I supposed to have a happy new year under these conditions,” one user commented.

“As if 2023 hasn’t dragged us enough...Now this?!?!” another wrote.

Steve Chu, co-owner of Ekiben, told The Baltimore Banner that the decision to remove the Tackle Box was fairly straightforward: It’s the lowest-selling item on the menu.

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“Honestly, the Tackle Box is personally my favorite dish so it definitely wasn’t an easy decision to take it off, but no one was buying it,” he said. “You see on Instagram, people are like, ‘Oh, that was my favorite dish,’ but if no one is buying it then we can’t have it in stock.”

The true fans of the Tackle Box can continue to purchase it until Jan. 13, when it will be discontinued. The box — which has catfish served over steamed rice with sesame sauce, and sides of pickles, onions and mango-papaya slaw — could see an extended life if sales increase though, Chu said. “If people love it that much and they could come out to buy it more, we might consider keeping it on the menu,” he added.

Otherwise, Chu isn’t sure yet what would replace the fan-favorite item, but said he does get a lot of requests to put their walnut shrimp over rice and sell that. In the meantime, you have just over a week to enjoy the original savory fried fish while supplies last. (Don’t worry: the Neighborhood Bird and tempura broccoli aren’t going anywhere.)

Taji Burris has covered the Baltimore music scene since 2015 for outlets such as The Working Title and The 4th Quarter, and now at the Baltimore Banner. 

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