By Robert ManginoBy Robert Mangino

At first glance you may think what’s the big deal about a Fish Fry? “You’ve been to one you’ve been to them all,” you may even say. I can tell you this much, in and around Pittsburgh, Fish Fry’s are a big deal and one is definitely not like all the others. Of course they all have fried fish sandwiches and dinners and most have baked fish, my personal favorite, and home made deserts. But, they’re all still a little different at the same time and give you experiences you won’t soon forget. Here’s why I say that.

The first fish fry I went to this Lenten season was at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Cecil Township. There they use a special heart healthy oil to fry their foods that gives a very distinct texture and delicious flavor to everything from the fish to the fries. If I recall correctly my heart did say thank you when I was done.

Then there’s Mount Saint Peter Parish in New Kensington, where it’s like going to my grandma’s house and all her sisters are there. They’re warm, inviting and give you more food than you could hope to eat. Don’t pass on the clam chowder or the home made buns, absolute musts.

After that I went to Holy Assumption of St. Mary Orthodox Church in the South Side. The dish I remember the most from there is their Greek salad. Kind of surprising too since it’s a Russian Orthodox Church.

At St. Malachy Catholic Church in Coraopolis they had homemade potato and cheese perogies. Don’t tell anyone but, they gave me a container that never made it back to the station.

Off to St. Joan of Arc in South Park. The whole experience was like going to a restaurant from beginning to end. If you’re there, be sure to order the soup du jour and homemade pizza all made from scratch… Fantastic!

Finally, the last one I made it to was The Chippewa Twp. VFD. Once again great food, like the others but, what set this one apart was it was all you can eat. Honestly, I’m not sure why anyone would need to go back for more but I’m sure many did.

My advice to you is this, next year during Lent make it a point to go to as many Fish Fry’s as possible. You’ll be eating some of the best food available made with loving hands and caring hearts and creating some lasting memories that will carry you through to the next Lenten Season where you’ll be able to do it all over again.

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