By: Sarah Kovash

A fish fry? What’s that?

This is what I was saying two years ago after first moving to Pittsburgh.

I am a non-native and had not experienced, nor heard of, the famous fish fry prior to living in Pittsburgh –and was at first completely baffled by its magnitude.

Literally fish frys everywhere.

I just want to say, I get it now. Last week, I finally tried my first fish fry and it was awesome.

It was definitely worth the search for an open church and Disneyland-esque long line, for I am now one with the Pittsburgh Friday fish eaters!

In fact, my friend who agreed to join in on the fun (a native Pittsburgher), admitted that she had also never been to a fish fry.

More of our fish fry fare (Photo Credit: Sarah Kovash)

More of our fish fry fare (Photo Credit: Sarah Kovash)

Now we are booking the rest of our Fridays through Lent.

On this particular trip, we found ourselves at St. Raphael in Morningside, a random stab mainly due to proximity and how late they served food.

Everyone there was great and what stood out to me was how quickly and efficiently the whole process ran, considering it’s not a restaurant. Although, they do this year after year, so maybe it shouldn’t have surprised me.

I don’t know that I necessarily want to “review” the fish fry food (since that’s not really what the fish fry is about), but I will say it was tasty and I enjoyed everything I ate.

I chose to deviate from the typical fish sandwich and try the breaded shrimp (shrimp + deep fried = always delicious), with sides of pierogies and coleslaw. I had to ease in slowly.

My friend got the fried fish dinner, also with coleslaw, french fries and a roll, which she also found enjoyable.

I kind of liked carrying my tray over to a table and eating in an elementary school cafeteria, too – made me feel like a kid again.

Granted, I don’t know anyone at this particular church, nor do I live in the neighborhood, but I could see how it was a great way for the people who did know each other to spend a little extra time together and catch up on their week.

My experience was more cultural than religious, but I plan to continue checking out more fish frys through the rest of Lent.

Where do you like to go for fish on Fridays?

If you love food too, be sure to follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahtheKovash

Be sure to check out our Fish Fry Guide!