The Fish Fry Fanatic
Week three. The Fish Fry Fanatic features a different local fish fry each Friday during Lent. Whether volunteering or just a hungry diner, get out and support a local fish fry this season. It’s a fun way to experience real Christian fellowship!
A relative newcomer to the fish fry scene, St. Patrick Church has quickly made a name for itself with quality and efficiency. After a two year hiatus following the flood of ’08, this resilient parish is back better than ever. One thing that sets St. Pat’s apart from other church suppers is the fish they serve: a Walleye fillet the size of Alaska! It’s thick and firm enough that it doesn’t fall apart. It has a fresh, mild flavor that people seem to flock to. “This is the best fish fry of all,” said Eugene Penticoff a fish fry regular and member of Blessed John XXIII. In fact St. Pat’s Lenten dinner attracts people from all over the city, both Catholics and non-Catholics.
Last week more than 930 meals were served in just 2 1/2 hours. Organizers hope to surpass 1,000 meals per night this year. A new innovation this year has led to that increase is a drive-thru lane. Vehicles enter the ally between the parish center and church from the 6th Street side and exit onto 5th Street. They pull up by the kitchen and give their order to the runners who run them back to the kitchen and return with boxes of freshly cooked fish dinners. More than 150 meals were served in the drive-up recently.
You can’t serve that many dinners without a lot of help. It seems like everyone in the parish has their turn at helping in what has become a major church fundraiser. Another reason for the popularity of this fish fry is the ability to serve everyone a fresh plate of fish right from the fryer. You won’t find any cooked fish holding in church roasters and getting soggy here. Thanks to great organization, the long line moves quickly. After paying you are given a ticket with your preference of fish and potato, both come either baked or fried. As you pass the kitchen window you give the host your ticket, who hands you a number. You are then seated with the help of one of the spotters. Within a few minutes usually, your number is called and you pick up your plate of freshly cooked fish and potato. Help yourself to the butter, sour cream, rolls and slaw and you’re ready to eat!
The parish hall and adjoining gathering space are filled to capacity with tables. In 2012 when the weather was unseasonably warm, the courtyard was opened for alfresco dining. In lieu of fish, you can choose from macaroni & cheese, grilled cheese or fish nuggets. The church ladies are raffling a lovely hand sewn, bed-size quilt for $1/chance. Also enter to win the $2,000 jackpot drawing. Both drawings will be held on Good Friday.
Don’t leave before having some soft serve ice cream with your choice of toppings. You’re sure to see some of your friends and neighbors here most Friday nights during Lent. So come out for some great fish and stay for the fun!
Location: St. Patrick Parish Center
Address: 120 5th St. NW, Cedar Rapids
Hours: 5:00 – 7:30 pm, Fridays during Lent, incl. Good Friday
Seniors: (65 & older): $8
Children: (5-12): $5
Age 4 & under: Free
Next week the Fish Fry Fanatic travels east to the KC’s fish fry in Marion.