TARPON SPRINGS — After 40 years in the business, Hellas Restaurant chef and general manager Emmanuel Psomas has seen a lot of octopus — but never anything this … uh, leggy.
He was getting ready to do his octopus pickling Thursday when one creature among hundreds caught his attention.
There was just something odd about it. Then counted its legs — three times. Each time came up with nine.
"I was like totally, no way!"
He carried the creature through the restaurant, asking, "Tell me a I don't have an octopus with nine legs."
Octopus is a staple in his restaurant, which he said goes through 25,000 to 35,000 pounds a year. This was unique.
The fishermen he asked about the creature were amazed. So was his father, a fisherman who knows his octopi and whose reaction was: "You've got to be kidding."
Psomas said the creature was likely taken from the gulf and was brought in with the usual daily supply.
He said he was told of one other nine-legger caught in Japan a decade or so ago, but he couldn't vouch for it.
For now, Psomas said Friday afternoon, he's keeping the freakish mollusk "hush-hush," but he said he plans to soon display it at the restaurant and bakery at 785 Dodecanese Blvd., burnishing the business' fame with customers.
"They expect the best, and we give it to them," he said. "Now, I guess, they're going to get more than their money's worth."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.