For me, the first few months of the year move along like the drip-drip of a tapped maple tree. While there are plenty of things on my calendar to keep me from the doldrums of winter — the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, binging Grace and Frankie — what I’m really looking forward to is Ash Wednesday.
In addition to marking the one day of the year I visit the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist with masses of other downtowners (oh, I know I really should go more — Catholic guilt is alive and well here), it’s a sign that fish fry season is upon us.
While born from Catholicism, fish fries in Northeast Ohio have created their own flock of followers regardless of what religion you are. It’s that old-school, come-as-you-are attitude that resonates with our Rust Belt, blue-collar identity. Let us feed you, let us give thanks, let us appreciate what we have.
A few years ago, I started a fish fry group with my friends. We’d pick a different church, hall or restaurant each week and make our pilgrimage to it on Fridays.
On the surface, it was all about the food — the amazing beer-battered Lake Erie perch at Lakewood’s El Carnicero or the massive fried walleye at Cleveland Heights’ Sts. Constantine and Helen. But over the last few years, we’ve added more friends, new acquaintances and curious co-workers. Whether there’s just four or 14 of us gathering around the table, we’re all there as one community. It’s become a way to stay connected while exploring our city.
That’s why “Fish Fry-Days” is such a catch. Let these 38 local fish fries — and our digital database of more than 90 — serve as our invitation to you. Hope to see you Friday night.
Click here to read the full list of "38 Fish Fries We Love."