It’s a hero’s journey-esque story as to how Parma’s St. Francis de Sales fish fry was saved.
Nine years ago, Anne Long and a group of St. Francis parishioners found out that the event, run by the athletic club of church’s now-closed day school, was getting to be too much. The parents who had organized it since the ’80s were ready to move on, but Long insisted they continue the tradition.
“A few of us parishioners said, ‘We can’t let it dissolve,’ ” says Long. “So we took it fresh, and we said, ‘If you show us, we’ll learn and we’ll keep it going.’ ”
Now, the event serves about 650 guests per evening and has volunteers from ages 8 to 80 putting in thousands of hours of work for the all-you-can-eat feast.
A dinner ($7-$14) includes baked and breaded cod and comes with pierogies from Sophie’s Choice Pierogies in Garfield Heights, mac ‘n’ cheese, homemade cabbage and noodles, french fries, coleslaw, applesauce and a buttered roll.
But it’s more than the food that keeps people coming back.
“People sit and linger, they talk, they laugh, they talk to the people next to them,” says Long. “We have people from Canton, we have people visiting family from Oregon, we have people who drive from the West Side. They want to be a part of the experience.” Fridays during Lent except Good Friday, 4:30-7:30 p.m. 3434 George Ave., Parma, 440-884-2319, stfrancisdesales-church.org