Perch and cod. Those are the fish you are supposed to see on the menu at an Ohio fish fry. But at St. Joseph in Avon Lake, the most popular item on the menu is, far and away, the salmon.
Prepared by the church’s priest, Fr. Ron Wearsch, the baked salmon is served with a chardonnay dill sauce that has parishioners lining up on Fridays.
In the great scheme of Lenten fish fries, St. Joseph’s entry into the game is comparatively recent. The church began hosting its fry in St. Joseph’s former church building in 2014, but quickly had to move to a new parish and family center facility to accommodate the hundreds of people who flocked from the suburbs surrounding Avon Lake.
Speaking of accommodations, this year’s fry will accommodate all the CDC recommended precautions, says Kayla Goodwin, St. Joseph’s communications director.
“We’re offering the option of a very user-friendly third-party ordering system,” Goodman explains. “When you order your food [online] you pay ahead and pick a time to pick it up. when you get here the lot will be split into one line for people who have ordered ahead and one for people coming to place an order.”
Salmon is by no means the only item on St. Joseph’s menu. For fish dinners, diners have an option of baked salmon ($14), baked Lake Erie walleye ($12), fried Lake Erie perch ($15) or fried shrimp ($13). Every fish dinner comes with a side of coleslaw, steamed vegetables and sauce (dill for the salmon, brown butter/caper for walleye, tartar for the perch and cocktail for the shrimp).
From there, diners can choose a side of fries, mac ‘n’ cheese, pierogies, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, or cabbage and noodles ($2). Homemade New England clam chowder is $6 for 12 ounces.
“It’s important to Father Ron to nourish people, both spiritually and physically, and this is part of that,” says Goodwin. “It’s a byproduct of what the season is really about.”Fridays during Lent except Good Friday 4-7 p.m. 32929 Lake Road, Avon Lake, 440-933-3152, stjosephavonlake.org Online orders will open each Monday until 5 p.m. Thursday. Drive-up orders accepted, with limited menu and availability.