Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Food & Family: Otis Harrison takes pride in the quality of his fish, the strength of his community

Otis Harrison

Four years ago, Otis Harrison converted a long-time corner bar into a neighborhood eatery.

With consultation from his aunt—who owned a fish place downtown—Harrison began experimenting with seasonings and formulated his own signature taste for OD’s Fish House.

Open six days a week, OD’s cooks up family-style plates for customers to eat in or take home. They sell 14 kinds of fish, from catfish to whiting filets to porgies, tilapia and trout.

“We want to make sure that our fish is as fresh as possible for our customers,” Harrison said. “So, we receive deliveries every other day from Maryland.”

Not sure what to order? Harrison is quick to make a recommendation based on your likes. He then will apply his signature rub and serve up your plate in short order.

Return customer Paul Hunt, a Highspire resident, visits OD’s at least once a week to satisfy his seafood cravings.

“The fish is always fresh and seasoned to perfection,” he said. “I recommend this local restaurant to family and friends when they are in town.”

Regulars share stories of mutual family and friends over OD’s savory sides, all made by Harrison’s cousin. Customers can choose from potato salad, seafood salad, macaroni and cheese, honey cornbread, collard greens and cabbage, candied yams and more.

Decadent desserts, made by a local baker weekly, are displayed prominently. The sweet treats range from peach cobbler to banana pudding to carrot cake to sweet potato pie.

“At OD’s, we are all about family,” Harrison said. “My dad owned the bar, my aunt inspired the fish, and my cousin makes all the sides. It all started with family recipes that make people feel good and can be enjoyed together.”

First-time customers can taste the flavors of OD’s sides before placing their order, compliments of the owner. Harrison even encourages customers who call in by phone to stop by and sample his favorites in person before picking up their order.

“I love watching my customers’ faces when they dig into one of my tastings,” Harrison said. “At OD’s, we are all about the idea that people are more important than money, and we want to make sure that each customer is happy with their choices.”

As a proud Black business owner with deep familial roots in Harrisburg, Harrison takes pride in supporting other small businesses and people in his community. As such, he displays buyable artwork along the walls of his restaurant from artists at his church.

Harrison also helps other business owners sell their products in his restaurant cases. For over a year, Harrison has assisted sister-duo, Reign and Taij Saunders, with their business by selling their flavored lemonade to his customers.

“I enjoy supporting my brothers and sisters as they support me,” Harrison said. “Harrisburg is my home and where my family has laid down roots for generations. We are so thankful for the many families who support us on a weekly basis.”

In honor of their fourth anniversary, OD’s Fish House will be celebrating with the Allison Hill community by offering customers a discount on Saturday, May 14. Learn more by visiting their corner location or by calling and asking for Harrison.

“I think my family members who are no longer with us would be proud of what we have built here and how we pivoted to make this business a success,” Harrison said. “I hope that our community comes out to support our anniversary in May and continues to enjoy our food and company.”

OD’s Fish House is located at 1500 Market St., Harrisburg, or call to place an order at 717-233-6870.


If you like what we do, please support our work. Become a Friend of TheBurg!


Continue Reading