Lent starts today, Ash Wednesday, the 9th of March, and will continue for 46 days until Saturday, the 23rd of April. I was raised Catholic, and for us Lent meant, among other rituals, abstaining from meat from mammals and fowl on Ash Wednesday and every Friday for the duration of Lent. Fridays during Lent, then, became a reason for Catholics to eat fish, and therefore, a reason to eat fish together at an event we called the Friday night fish fry.
As a kid, a Lenten Friday night fish fry was something special. We partook perhaps once per season, and the rest of the time we ate grilled cheese at home on Friday nights. On those special Lenten Friday nights, I waited in line behind my dad for my piece of fried Perch, a slice of buttered rye bread, and a dollop of cole slaw. As we bowed our heads in prayer, I would sneak a peek at my lovely fillet of perch and remind myself to track down some tartar sauce just as soon as my mom said, “Amen.”
So today’s blog post is devoted to Friday night fish frys. Several Twin Cities restaurants serve up solid fish frys. My favorites that are serving up crispy, sizzling, sustainably harvested fried fish include the Wild Alaskan Cod at Anchor Fish & Chips, the Blue Gill or Smelt at Red Stag Supperclub, and the Canadian Walleye at Cafe Twenty–Eight.
An experience that’s steeped in tradition, however, is waiting in line for a fish fry at a Knights of Columbus Hall, VFW Hall, or Catholic Church, so here’s my big list of Twin Cities hall and church Friday night fish fries:
* Knights of Columbus Hall, Bloomington — All Fridays of Lent: 5–9 p.m. at 1114 American Blvd.
* South St. Paul VFW, St Paul – All Fridays of Lent: 111 Concord Exchange S.
* VFW in Richfield – All Fridays of Lent: 4:30–8:30 p.m. at 66th and Lyndale
* American Legion Post 259, Excelsior – All Fridays of Lent: 5–8 p.m. at 24450 Smithtown Road
* Holy Cross Church, NE Minneapolis – Six Fridays beginning March 11: 5–7 p.m. at 1630 NE. 4th St.
* Church of St. Albert the Great, Minneapolis – All Fridays of Lent: 4:30–7:30 p.m. at 2836 33rd Ave S.
* Epiphany, Coon Rapids — All Fridays of Lent: 4:30–7 p.m. at 1900 111th Ave. N.W.
* St. John the Baptist, Hugo — All Fridays of Lent: 5–8 p.m. at 14383 Forest Blvd. N.
* St. Peter, Forest Lake — All Fridays of Lent: 5–7 p.m. at 1250 South Shore Dr.
* St. Pascal Baylon, St. Paul — All Fridays of Lent: 4:30–7 p.m. at 1757 Conway St.
* St. Bernard, St. Paul — All Fridays of Lent: 4:30–7 p.m. at the corner of Rice Street and Geranium Ave.
* St. Matthew, St. Paul — All Fridays of Lent: 4:30–7:30 p.m. at 510 Hall Ave.
* St. Timothy, Blaine — March 4 and All Fridays of Lent: 7 p.m. at 707 89th Ave. N.E.
* Most Holy Trinity, St Louis Park – Some Fridays of Lent: 4017 Utica Avenue S.
* St. Patrick of Cedar Lake, Jordan — March 4: 5–8 p.m. at 24425 Old Hwy. 13 Blvd.
* St. Peter Catholic School, North St. Paul — March 11: 4–7 p.m. at 2620 N. Margaret St.
* Knights of Columbus Hall, Shakopee — March 11: 5–8 p.m. at 1760 Fourth Ave. E.
* St. Michael, Prior Lake – March 11: 5–8 p.m. at 16311 Duluth Ave. Menu includes macaroni and cheese.
* St. Bernard, Cologne — March 11: 3:30–8 p.m. at 300 Church St.
* Guardian Angels, Chaska — March 11: 4:30–7:30 p.m. at 215 W. Second St.
* St. Pius X, White Bear Lake — March 11: 4:30–7 p.m. at 3878 Highland Ave.
* Mary, Queen of Peace, Rogers — March 18: 5–7 p.m. at 21304 Church Ave.
* St. Anne, Hamel — March 18: 4:30–7 p.m. at 200 Hamel Road
* Knights of Columbus Hall, Shakopee — March 18: 5–8 p.m. at 1760 Fourth Ave. E.
* St. Peter Catholic School, North St. Paul — March 25, April 8 & 15: 4–7 p.m. at 2620 N. Margaret St.
* St. Jerome, Maplewood — April 15: 4:30–7 p.m. at 384 E. Roselawn
Did I miss one worth mentioning? If so, let us know below!
And just in case you’re not interested in eating fried fish, the Holy Family Maronite Church’s Lenten dinners will be fishless this year. A Lebanese meatless, fishless dinner will be served each week on Fridays during Lent from 5–7 p.m. at 1960 Lexington Avenue South, Mendota Heights. The menu includes deep–fried eggplant, flat bread, and Lebanese rice, among other items.
[where: Sustainable Food, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, Minnesota]