Fish Fry 2014!

A handy guide for those searching for alternative proteins or just really crispy fish fry on Fridays during Lent.

Fish and chips from The Anchor Fish & Chips in Minneapolis.
Drew Wood
With Pope Francis being such a cheeky chap, Catholics are so HOT right now! Well, I’m about as far from Catholic as they get (Buddhist Aquarius with Demeter rising, actually) yet I can’t help but be grateful for their tradition of a meatless day during Lent, which has given us a little cultural gift: the Friday Fish Fry (FFF).
All are welcome and there are many ways to go about it. You can head to a church dinner and take in a little bingo whilst supping off paper plates for the hometown feel. You can pop into a Club and play some darts or throw a little karaoke with your fry basket and beer. Or you can show up at your favorite restaurant/bar, a few of which put up some pretty decent specials this time of year. So gather your friends, and head off the Spanish Inquisition with a little fry time.
St. Albert's Fish Fry via Facebook
Remember, churches will most likely be beer-free events, but they are your best chance for bake sales and bingo. The Catholic Spirit is your best source, and yes they have a Pinterest board, a Twitter handle @CatholicSpirit and even a hashtag #TCSlent for your tweeted meals.
St. Albert the Great is the big dog, feeding a ton of tilapia to some 800 people on Friday nights without breaking a sweat (two lines, people). Plus classic bingo twice nightly, cash raffles, and real homemade church-lady desserts. Extra parking one block to the north with a looping shuttle.
Holy Family Maronite Church is a bit alt-fish fry in that they offer crispy baked Pollock, but the real stars are the Lebanese dishes: green beans in tomato sauce, fried cabbage, flatbread, and a garlic sauce that will knock the Aramaic out of you. 
Church of the Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale has the best beer battered cod, filet or sandwich, in town (plus meatless spaghetti, homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, and various combo meals for less than $10). There’s take-out options, and a family meal deal for $30. 
The FFF at St. Pascal Baylon in St. Paul is run by the Men’s Club, runs $11 and fried AND baked cod plus two kinds of potatoes: au gratin and seasoned fries. 
Church of the Epiphany in Coon Rapids will give you your $10 fried fish, but will tempt you with a little fried shrimp for $3 extra. Plus, pizza for the anti-pescatarians in your flock.
Hanging at the Wayzata American Legion

VFW/American Legions and the like will most likely have beer, and maybe some raffle action, but they might be more crowded with pull-tab lovin’ regulars.

The B-Dale Club is always jam-packed for FFF. At its T-Birdz Grill a fried fish and shrimp combo dinner is $10 with potato, green beans, and a roll.

Gallagher-Hansen VFW in South St. Paul on Concord is a hot spot on FFF night. You can count on live music and .50 tap beers.
Crystal’s VFW #494 offers a $8.95 AYCE fish fry, plus meat raffles and live music.
Excelsior American Legion is my favorite. The fish is crisp, it’s AYCE, good times are had by all.
Wayzata American Legion is always hopping, so you can imagine what happens when the FFF dinner melts into karaoke time. Mmmhhhm.
Tavern on Grand via Facebook

Restaurants and bars will clearly provide a good menu and some professional shine to the meal, and the plates will probably not be paper. Gather with friends around a small table to really get the fish fry feel.
Those who do it daily and do it spectacularly well are, of course, Anchor Fish & Chips and Mac’s . . . which has just launched a spot in Minneapolis (check out DMG’s first bite). 
How about Ngon Bistro throwing in with a sassy version. They’re running fish ‘n’ chips as a special on Fridays with curry and Indeed beer-battered cod with Sriracha tartar sauce.
Of the UK establishments, let’s call out Merlin’s Rest for its salted and malted fish ‘n’ chips wrapped in newspaper, Brit’s epic serving, which also come in bite-sized pieces, Morrissey’s with its goodly batter, and The Liffey’s options of cod or walleye with hometown Summit EPA batter and sweet & spicy pickles.
Red Cow will let you step away from the burger with AYCE beer battered fish with fries and special sauce for $15.
Stay fancy and try the fried cod with remoulade at Coup d’etat (that kinda rhymes).
The thing about Ward 6 is that their fish ‘n’ chips are seriously good, but maybe that’s because they’re both fried in beef fat (tread with caution and a set definition of what not eating meat means to you).
Red Stag has the FFF year round, with those addictive little smelt fries, plus walleye and blue gill as basket options. 
It’s all about choice at Tavern on Grand: Walleye basket with sauce, walleye bites on a stick, or go big with the full dinner that includes salad, roll, veg, and potato.
Groveland Tap throws in with AYCE beer battered fish, fries, slaw, and malt vinegar for $12.
Floyd’s in Victoria is not messing around. Trip it out there for an all day FFF deal for under $10, $3.75 Leinies and live music (plus you can stop by the Enki Brewing taproom).
Cardinal Tavern gives you all the beer battered cod, fries, and slaw you want for $10.95.
Obb’s Bar in Mounds Park is worth the hype. Friday night is AYCE fried fish for $12.95, it is craft beer on tap, it is an order of serious onion rings if you have room.
The Valley between Prescott and Ellsworth is a homey, friendly Wisconsin bar with legendary fish fry. The AYCE is $11.25 and the fryer is good.
Glockenspiel has a Friday AYCE fish fry for $14.95. Remember there are liter steins of Hacker-Pschorr.
Lake Elmo Inn will do a little FFF during lunch with AYCE cod with waffle fries and slaw for $12.95. FYI they go big for dinner with a $50 Friday seafood buffet with sushi, crab clusters, and the like. 
Looking for a fresh outlook to your Friday fish? Consider the lobster corn dog at Smack Shack, a rainbow trout at Jax Cafe, or a lunchtime calamari po’boy from Sea Change.