'Tis the season for God and cod!
Lent begins in late February, officially kicking off the Catholic tradition where parishioners refrain from eating red meat on Fridays for approximately six weeks prior to Easter. But while beef and chicken are off the menu, seafood is still fair game. (If you've been wondering why hundreds of fish fries pop up at Tri-state churches and community organizations every Friday during Lent Well, now you know.)
So! Whether you're taking part in the religious aspect of this tasty tradition or simply find yourself hankering for a nice filet sandwich, dive into our collection of the Great Eight of the Lenten Fish Fries.
Mary Queen of Heaven
1150 Donaldson Highway (Erlanger. Ky)
Welcome to the home of "The Codfather." (Yes, you will indeed see folks dressed up mafia-style. You'll also see more than one fish costume. Enjoy.) Meal prep is led by the president of Izzy's deli, guaranteeing that the food is nothing less than spectacular.
Order: The Halibut Hero, a gigantic, crispy filet of fried halibut on a hoagie bun.
8939 Montgomery Road (Kenwood)
Speedy serving times, a variety of fish choices, craft beer, and a deluxe bake sale combine to make All Saints a solid win on the fish fry scene. Choose from a standard two-piece platter, fish sandwich, or mix it up with baked tilapia or salmon. And don't forget to save room for dessert. From pies to cookies to boozy cupcakes, All Saints features a bevy of homemade sweets.
Order: Cod Tacos (with cheese, cilantro, diced tomato, and spicy coleslaw), sweet potato fries, an Irish Car Bomb cupcake, and a Mt. Carmel beer.
5936 Ridge Ave (Pleasant Ridge)
Teaming up with East Side fave MadTree Brewing Company, the Nativity Fish Fry has a selection of craft beers available to accompany your fish dinner. Speaking of which, the centerpiece is a thick piece of hand-breaded haddock overflowing its fluffy bun, but a heaping portion of baked mac-n-cheese really completes the experience. (It's gooey and has the crunchy breadcrumbs on top. Yum.)
Order: Haddock sandwich, mac-n-cheese, MadTree Sprye beer, and a bourbon pecan pie bar for dessert.
4108 W. 8th Street (Price Hill)
The most high-tech fish fry in town, St. William expedites the queue by using iPads for ordering. Enjoy their signature tavern breaded fish by the platter with two sides plus hush
puppies -- a guaranteed fill-you-up. Not in the mood for fish? Float away with an order of the butterfly shrimp.
Order: MagnifiCod sandwich with cheese on rye, mac-n-cheese, and green beans.
Immaculate Heart of Mary
5876 Veterans Way (Burlington, Ky)
Come hungry for the Tommy Boy (fried cod stuffed inside a grilled cheese sandwich on rye, topped with horseradish and tartar sauce). Round out your meal with a side of fried shrimp, crab cakes, or mac-n-cheese (constructed with four kinds of cheese and topped with crispy baked cheddar). The kitchen is managed by a parishioner known only as the "Halibut Hero," a legendary individual who works as a food supplier by day and rocks the fish fry scene by Lenten night.
Order: Tommy Boy and Scratch Mac
Bridgetown Finer Meats
6135 Bridgetown Road (Bridgetown)
It might not be a church, but this West Side spot is definitely capable of serving up a spiritual experience. In operation since 1979, this deli & butcher has some of the tastiest fish in the Tri-state. A 12" piece of fried cod comes sandwiched between two huge pieces of artisan bread, topped with lettuce, tomato, and a jalapeno tartar sauce that gives it a flavor unlike any other. The sides are winners across the board: mac-n-cheese, green beans, cole slaw, potato wedge fries, and a really, really fantastic fruit cup. Need more convincing? There's a wine tasting every Friday and a cookie shop next door. Case closed.
Order: Everything. Go all-out gluttony.
Knights of Columbus
828 Elm Street (Ludlow. Ky)
This brotherhood has some of the most welcoming and hospitable folks we've met during the fish fry season, serving up beer and chatting with visitors while queuing for dinner. The beer-battered cod was so big it was swimming off the rye bun. Hanging on alongside were creamy mac-n-cheese and fried mushrooms. If you're all-fished out (or not adhering to the "no red meat" practice), check out the fried chicken, an entire hen fried fresh on-site. And save room for the bake sale! There are dozens of made-from-scratch cakes and pies, supplied by a group of adorable little old ladies. Ah sweets like Grandma used to make: one more reason why this should be on you Fish Fry Fridays list.
Order: Grab your bake sale desserts first. Then order a beer-battered cod sandwich on rye. Then, if you still have room, go for the fried mushrooms.
Prince of Peace
625 Pike Street (Covington, Ky)
Simple ensures quality. It's just one of those time-honored truths. This Catholic Montessori school's straightforward menu features two mains -- bountiful fried cod or shrimp -- and completes each plate with fries, green beans, and cole slaw.
Order: Cod sandwich, sides, and the bake sale for dessert.
'Tis the season for God and cod!