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.
“If you don’t get here before 6 o’clock, you may not get any,” says Kayla Goodwin, St. Joseph’s marketing director. Prepared by the church’s priest, Rev. Ron Wearsch, the baked salmon is served with a white wine 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.
“On Friday night, everyone comes,” says Goodwin. “Between 4:30 and 7 [p.m.], this place is packed full.”
Salmon is by no means the only item on St. Joseph’s menu. For fish dinners ($14-$16), diners have an option of baked salmon, baked cod, fried Lake Erie perch or fried shrimp. From there, diners can choose a side of fries, mac ‘n’ cheese, cabbage and noodles or pierogies. Soups, baked potatoes, soft drinks, pizza — you read that right — and more are available as extras, and homemade desserts, donated by parishioners, are available. It’s all about filling hungry bellies.
“Fridays are supposed to be a day of fasting,” says Goodwin. “Father Ron takes it into consideration that a lot of people abide by that and don’t eat until late, and they’re starving.” Fridays during Lent except Good Friday 4:30-7 p.m. 32929 Lake Road, Avon Lake, 440-933-3152, stjosephavonlake.org