From the first minute St. Mary Romanian Orthodox Cathedral begins its fish fry, there’s already a line out the door. As the oldest Romanian Orthodox parish in the United States, it’s been hosting its fish fry for more than three decades — and some parishioners argue it might have been the first parish in Northeast Ohio to open its fish fry to the public.
It’s certainly historic — a 98-foot-long copper frieze depicting more than 2,000 years of Romanian history adorns the upper walls of the banquet hall where more than 700 meals are served every Friday night during Lenten season.
To beat the rush, event organizer Gus Secue suggests visitors should arrive early to catch up to four dinner options — fried whitefish ($11), fried shrimp ($10), baked cod ($9.50) and Secue’s personal favorite, fried blue pike ($11.50), a flaky, semi-sweet and mildly flavored standout.
“I learned from the elders how to cook it,” says Secue, who’s been overseeing the operation for more than 10 years. “The batter we use gives it its mild flavor and that little crispiness on the outside.”
On the surface, each entree is a simple selection served with two sides, such as mac ‘n’ cheese and cabbage and noodles. But preparation for this fish fry is an all-hands-on-deck event that begins with volunteers setting up tables on Thursdays.
“We take pride not only in the food, but also making everyone feel welcome,” he says. Fridays during Lent 5-8 p.m. 3256 Warren Road, Cleveland, 216-941-5550, smroc.org