Tomorrow is opening day, as far as fried fish is concerned. Last year was the first year I really soaked in the local Friday Fish Fry tradition, and I'm sorry to say it, but I am hooked (badum-dum). It's become like a sport, like a medallion hunt, plotting my family's whereabouts on Friday and thusly choosing a VFW or church basement that might offer righteously fried cod, with perhaps a side of Bingo. It's all about shedding our emotional parkas and plopping down at a communal table next to total strangers who similarly sport a grease painted paper plate overflowing with fish, mac & cheese, maybe some cole slaw if the ladies are up to it.
I'm re-posting my list of favorites from last year, with a few new additions. Let me know what you think should be added.
Remember, churches will most likely be beer-free events, but they are your best chance for bake sales and Bingo. Check the Catholic Spirit calendar for more locations.
- St. Albert the Great seems to be the reigning hot spot. They claim to have served more than 1,000 people on two different Fridays last year.
- Holy Family Maronite Church goes to the limit with Lebanese side dishes.
- Most Holy Trinity in SLP is a contender for my crispiest award, plus I think this is where I had the moist, dense apple cake of dreams.
- St. Bonaventure in Bloomington will hold one dinner on Feb. 26th, but last year that was one of my most fun nights.
- Church of the Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale has a tasty, tasty beer batter.
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.
- Excelsior American Legion is my local go-to. I've yet to be disappointed by the camaraderie or the fish.
- South St. Paul VFW on Concord is hugely popular. Once the Fish Fry sign goes up the buzz begins.
- The Polish American Club is known for good beer with their FF. Two years ago I enjoyed a lovely dark brew there with my father-in-law. NOW CLOSED
- Tri-City American Legion in New Brighton is super kid-friendly.
Restaurants and bars will clearly provide a good menu and some professional shine to the meal, but go with a group of pals so as not to miss the sharing-of-the-love.
- Red Stag's Friday Fish Fry has those addictive smelt fries, among other creative options.
- Groveland Tap smartly packages their meal with a pint of Summit.
- Cafe Twenty-Eight is run by a Badger-State girl who knows how to throw down a beer-battered piece of fish. Every Friday is an homage to Northern Wisconsin.
- Obb's in Mounds Park came on my radar last year. It is all-you-can-eat fried fish, it is Bell's and Rush River on tap, it is an order of serious onion rings if you have room.
- The Valley, (aka Joe's Valley) which was new to me last year, has since rocked it for me in that divey, homey, friendly Wisconsin bar kinda way. And yes, the fish melts in your mouth.
- Dick's Bar & Grill in Hudson was recommended, but I haven't been yet. Someone told me that the beer battered cod was good, but the spicy cajun red fish was even better. This is my trek this year.
AND I just found this movie: Fish Fry Night Milwaukee.