Tell us about your local fish fry

What’s on the menu? Do they have good choices? Can you eat in or grab-n-go? Seat yourself or trestle table seating? Haddock or some other white fish?
Here in Johnstown we’re surrounded by places holding Fish Fries for Lent. We’ve tried a couple of different ones and our favorite so far is at one of the fire halls. The not only have a choice of baked, beer battered or fried fish but also crab cakes, tiger shrimp, and pierogies. Dinners come with mac n cheese, fries or cole slaw. There are gobs for dessert, if you have the room. (Gobs are the local name for whoopie pies.)

The other fry we went to added halushki to the basic menu.

How about your neck of the woods?

Locally, a fish fry is usually associated with church suppers or political fundraisers. It involves breaded and deep fried catfish, hushpuppies, slaw, iced tea and an assortment of pies and 'nanner pudding. Sometimes, Brunswick stew can be found as a side.

It’s no wonder the south leads the way in obesity stats.

My parish gives you two pieces of fried, cabbage and noodles, a pierogi, mac and cheese, French fries, cole slaw, and cake, all for $10. It’s a step down from last year, when you got two pierogis and your choice of fried, baked, or blackened. We’ve never had gobs at ours, though-- I’m jealous (my family hails from Johnstown, so I’m quite familiar with them).

Would you include a fish *boil? * That is a local dish, supposedly started long ago when fish was plentiful but refrigeration was not. The problem was how to dispose, profitably, with an excess catch, and the solution was to boil a huge pot of water over an open fire, and with careful timing, add telescoping wire baskets of potatoes, onions, and fish.

This has evolved into a local summer event where you can attend fish boils several places most any day of the week: commercial or church fundraisers.

Fish (trout or whitefish) is typically cut into “steaks,” not filets, bone-in, skin-on. The ingredients are put into the boiling water so that they all finish cooking at once. Because a lot of oils and scum rise to the surface that the cooks don’t want to be re-deposited onto the fish and potatoes, they toss a coffee can of kerosene on the fire at the last minute, which causes towering flame and a boil-over. They immediately take the wire baskets off on a pole, one person on each end, and carry them to the serving table.

Fish boils are served picnic style, with melted Wisconsin butter poured over everything, plus bread, cole slaw, and cherry pie for dessert. Beer is one common beverage.

Veteran fish boil diners know how to carefully remove the bones; newbies often complain that there are too many. In the fancier restaurants, the waitresses will offer to debone your plate for you. (Make your own jokes here.)

Fish boils are best accompanied by accordion or polka music, you bet, but Elvis classics will do in a pinch.

Musicat, that sounds very fun. It reminds me of a southern shrimp or crawfish boil.

fish fries here tend to support volunteer fire departments.

Almost every restaurant around here has a variation on a Friday Night Fish Fry. Typically it’s Lake Superior whitefish, sometimes cod or other non-Lake fish. Depending on where you go, the batter might be thin & crisply or thick & bready; I prefer the thin type.

It’s almost always served with fries, tartar sauce, and lemons.

We get fish boils up here as well, but it’s not as common as in Wisconsin. They’re mostly things that people do at their house, like a fish version of a barbecue. They’re fun as well, but not nearly as common as the fish fry, and I don’t think I’ve seen many restaurants do them.

Ankers has been around here for at least 50 years; I started going just before the original owner retired. I don’t get their fish fries, opting instead for either their a pound of haddock or steamed clams. Great sides. It’s takeout, though they do have a couple of tables if you want to eat there.

Unfortunately none that I have found in Northern Nevada…however when I lived in Wisconsin ( go Badgers) the best ones were in taverns. Used to be all you can eat beer battered cod( well not true cod) or walleye, fries , creamy cole slaw and a bread of some sort. Or you could get poor mans lobster instead of the fried. Do I miss them…

Every tavern and VFW hall around here has a Friday fish fry during lent.
You would think that being practically ubiquitous it would be easy to get into one but every single one has lines out the door on Friday evening.
It’s usually cod, fries or baked potato, coleslaw and tarter sauce, usually for around $10 - $15.

Just for the record, I’ve never heard of the term “fish fry.” Reading the posts, I’m not even clear on whether it’s an event or a type of restaurant.

Clearly, we don’t have them anywhere I’ve lived (NYC & 'burbs, LA, CT), but if it’s a type of restaurant, my in-laws in Jacksonville FL live not too far from a totally amazing fish camp. Huge restaurant, trestle tables with plastic tablecloths and a roll of paper towels on each one, picnic benches for seating. The menu is 12" x 18" (I’m guessing), several pages long, small print, and pretty much every damned thing on it is deep-fried. And awesome. Except maybe the deep-fried pickles; I didn’t like them so much.

Every kind of fish or other seafood you can imagine. Plus gator tails. I love gator tails. I think there may be other parts of the gator on the menu, too.

It’s at the end of a country road and on the bank of a small river — sometimes you see gators while you’re eating. The most noticeable feature of the place is the animals. Well over a hundred taxidermied animals everywhere throughout the place. But I think that’s a feature of this restaurant, not of fish camps in general.

They tell me a new fish camp opened recently on the man drag; I may have to check it out next time I’m down there.

Nothing around here by that name. (Pacific NW). I’m really glad we still have some regional diversity in this country. It makes traveling a lot more fun.

Here’s what Wiki has to say about Fish Fries.

Also, I now want to grab the hubby and the dogs, jump in the car and head for that fish camp!!

Just about every pub-type restaurant has fish fry specials on Friday, all year round (this is in Western NY). The fish is usually cod or the local walleye - which is a perfectly fine eating fish, but I’ve got to be honest and say the name has always put me off. Beer battered or baked, and it comes with French fries AND coleslaw AND macaroni salad. The slaw and macaroni are usually small portions.

The biggest dilemma of my life is that the closest bar to me is right on the lake, so in the summer it is delightful to sit out by the water and enjoy some beers and dinner … but their fish fry is, eh, fine. It’s usually pretty serviceable, but nothing to write home about. The next closest place is not near the water, kind of a blah establishment, but the fish fry is amazing. We always end up choosing between the atmosphere and the food, and then inevitably feel like we made the wrong choice.

Beer battered perch, deep fried. Accompanied by cole slaw, rye bread, and potato pancakes. That’s in east-central Wisconsin.

It’s an event, on Fridays during Lent (when Catholics are prohibited from eating warm-blooded meat). Predictably, they’re much more common in areas where there are a lot of Catholics. The standard fish fry is a fund-raiser run by a church or other nonprofit (volunteer fire department, school, etc.), but some restaurants get into the game, too. These are not full-time seafood restaurants; they just serve a different menu for Lenten Fridays.

God, I miss living there!

This must be a Back East kind of thing. We certainly have seafood restaurants out here (my favorite charges about $15 for three pieces of battered halibut with fries, hushpuppies, coleslaw, lemon slices, and a housemade tartar sauce so thick you could eat it with a spoon), but I’ve never even encountered such a thing as a fish fry. The very name sounds low-end and disreputable to me.

Although I spent 3 summers working at a place that had fish boils not to far from Musicat, fish fries also happened in the area. Fish fries were common where I grew up as well (Fox river valley between Oshkosh & Green bay)

Usually perch (though that got real expensive) or walleye with French fries and coleslaw.


Catfish, french fries, slaw, beans, and pie, served in the local catholic high school. This was Missouri. I don’t remember who did the frying but it always seemed like a pitch-in thing. You donated pie and soda and volunteered to make the take-out plates or clean up. I’m pretty sure it’s still done this way today.