STRIP DISTRICT (KDKA) — The first Friday of Lent always “reels ‘em in” at Wholey’s in the Strip District.
But this year, the popular fish market has added reason to celebrate. Wholey’s is 100 years old.
Dan Wholey passes out samples of fried smelt to a long line of customers. He says it’s always busy on the first Friday of Lent.
“I’m waiting for the big rush here,” he says, gesturing toward a line that extends past the serving counter, around the corner, and halfway into the store. “It’s 12:01 now. By 12:15, maybe that line will be way back there.”
Dan and three brothers run a business that began when their grandfather, Robert L. Wholey, peddled butter and eggs from a push cart. The model train, which endlessly circles above the customers, came later.
“My father put that in 20 years ago,” his son recalls.
There are plans for an anniversary bash sometime in September. In the meantime, Dan Wholey has customers to please.
“Smelt on the way out? There you go,” Wholey said.
Shopping completed, they’re happy to take “one for the road.”