Editor’s note: Due to the ongoing pandemic, fish fries may look quite a bit different this year. Please check in ahead of time regarding the event and its COVID-19 restrictions.
For Christians, Lent is a season of solemnity, where people practice self-denial and atonement leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So how do all-you-can-eat-with-all-the-fixings fish fries at local restaurants and churches figure into that?
The fish fry tradition is most strongly associated with the Roman Catholic community, but churches and organizations of many denominations have participated.
According to Wikipedia, the ritual of fasting during the Lent season dates back to the first century CE. The practice has changed quite a bit over the centuries — but it started as a fast. It was eventually established as a 40-day abstinence from the meat of warm-blooded animals. This form of penance was meant to recognize the suffering and forbearance of Christ's 40 days in the desert while he was tested by Satan. This year's Lent season began Feb. 17 and ends April 3.
Fish fries are also a way to celebrate Midwestern roots, since many places in Minnesota and Wisconsin were settled by German and Polish Catholics who did not typically eat meat on Fridays. Proximity to freshwater lakes means that a fish fry might feature fresh walleye, bass, perch, bluegill or even catfish, in addition to the more widespread choices of cod and tilapia.
Press Publications has compiled a list of fish fries in the northeast metro where you can find your own Lenten meal. Many local restaurants also offer fish fry meals at this time of year.
Arden Hills (3561 Lexington Ave. N) & Blaine (10950 Club W. Parkway NE #280)
The Tavern Grill. Monday fish fry 4-10 p.m. every Monday. Unlimited fish fry for $15 featuring wild-caught filet of cod with waffle fries, housemade coleslaw, and housemade tartar sauce.
St. Timothy take-out fish fry, serving 5-7 p.m. Feb. 26, March 12 and 26. Includes baked or fried fish, coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad. Cost is $12. Preorder at 800-972-0418 or churchofsttimothy.com.
Kelly’s Korner, 7098 Centerville Road. All-you-can-eat beer-battered Atlantic cod and all the fixings for only $13.95.
Rusty Cow Café, 2 South Pine Drive. Every Friday from 4-7 p.m. enjoy all-you-can-eat hand-battered pollock, baked potato, coleslaw and housemade tartar sauce for only $14.95. Available for takeout and online. therustycowcafe.com.
American Legion Post 225, 355 W. Broadway Ave. March 5, 19 and 26. 4-9 p.m. $11 for 3 cod filets, tartar sauce, baby red potatoes, coleslaw, dinner roll. Additional filets, $3 each. Details at Post225.com or 651-464-2600.
Boulevard Bar & Grill, 3800 Restwood Road (4-9 p.m.). All-you-can-eat fish fry for $11.99. Served with coleslaw, your choice of kettle chips or fries and a breadstick. (Dine-in only/no to-go plates). More info: boulevardbarmn.com
Cowboy’s Saloon, 9005 South Highway Drive. Fish Fry Fridays starting at 5 p.m. Happy hour 3-6 p.m. All-you-can-eat fish fry includes flaky cod for just $10, served with fries.
St. John’s Catholic Church, 380 Little Canada Road East. March 19, 26. Curbside pickup to-go in 2021. Pickup times: Half-hour increments, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Place: looping through the main lot, in the same method as communion distribution or school car line, enter in the south-most entrance off of McMenemy Street, then loop around the Gathering Space Circle, where a volunteer will greet you to get your name and deliver your order. Preorders are mandatory. Fill out an order at: sjolc.org/fish-fry. Each fish dinner includes pan-crusted whitefish, baby red wedge potatoes and crisp coleslaw, at a price of $12. Bonus: add-on slices (or a whole) of cheese pizza ($1.50/slice; $12/whole). 651-288-3270.
American Legion Post 566, 7731 Lake Drive all Fridays during Lent. $10 for a 3-piece dinner or $13 for all-you-can-eat cod. All dinners come with choice of potato, coleslaw and a dinner roll. After dinner, stay for karaoke starting at 7 p.m. till close at 11. 651-783-0055.
Campanelle, 7114 Otter Lake Road, Suite 150. Friday Lent Special includes beer-battered cod with sea salt Italian fries. Dinner $10.99; sandwich $9.99. Served every Friday during Lent until sold out.
5-8 Club, 2289 Minnehaha Ave. E. Fridays through April 2. Lunch $9.99 or all-you-can-eat dinner for $14.99 includes cod, French fries and coleslaw. More info 651-735-5858.
St. Jerome, March 26, curbside pickup and preorder only. Hand-battered deep-fried cod: $10 for 1, $12 for two, $14 for three. Preorder and prepaid curbside pickup only at 380 E. Roselawn Ave. Preorder at 651-771-8494. or stjeromefishfry.givesmart.com or stjeromeschool.org
Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Feb. 19 and 26, March 5, 12, 19 and 26. $10 to-go only. 1695 Kennard St. in Kenney Hall. Dinner includes fried fish fillets with coleslaw, mac and cheese, roll. More info https://presentationofmary.org/all-events/event/meatless-meals.
4 Seasons Restaurant, 114 Mahtomedi Ave. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. every Friday during Lent. A “Lent box” is available for take-out or dine-in (with reservation). The Box $11.99: 2 pieces (6 oz) battered fried cod, full side of mashed potatoes and gravy, and a side of tartar sauce. Add two more pieces of fried cod for $5. More info at 651-429-2201 and thefourseasonsrestaurant.com.
Guardian Angels, 8260 Fourth St. N., Oakdale, curbside pickup Feb. 26, March 12 and 26. Dinners include fried or baked fish, red potatoes, mac and cheese, green beans, coleslaw, roll with butter and dessert. Cost is $13. More info at guardian-angels.org/fish-fry/.
Transfiguration Catholic Church, 6133 15th Street North, March 12 and 26, 5-7 p.m. Adults $10/seniors $8 (65 and older)/12 & under $5, or $30 per household (cash and check only). In-person: Transfiguration Gymnasium. Curbside pickup: school entrance. Dinner includes fried or baked fish, grilled cheese, coleslaw, french fries, tater tots, baked potatoes, dessert and beverage. transfigurationmn.org, 651-738-2646.
The Wild Boar Bar and Grill in Oakdale, 950 Helena Ave. N. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. All-you-can-eat fish fry every Friday. Cod fish served with fries, coleslaw and potato salad for $12.99.
Meister’s Bar and Grill, 14808 Oakhill Road, Fridays through April 2. $10.99. All-you-can-eat dinner with hand-breaded cod, beans, coleslaw and fries. More info: 651-433-5230 or meistersbar.com.
Brick and Bourbon, 215 Main St. S., offers a fish special every Friday through April 2. More info 651-342-0777 or brickandbourbon.com.
Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter, 8390 Lofton Ave. N. All Fridays during Lent. $12.99 lunch and $13.99 dinner for dark beer-battered or broiled cod loins, fries and coleslaw. Call 651-439-7128 for more details.
Joseph’s Restaurant, 14608 N. 60th St. Fridays during Lent. Lunch $12 or dinner $13 for beer-battered cod, soup or salad, choice of potatoes and a roll. More info: 651-439-3336 or josephsstillwater.com.
VFW Post 323, 5880 Omaha Ave. N. Fish fry Fridays. 4:30-7:30 p.m. $12 all-you-can-eat wild Alaskan cod, au gratin potatoes, green beans, coleslaw, rolls and dessert.
White Bear Lake
Alley Cat’s Gourmet Sandwiches, 1971 Whitaker St. Fish and chips available every Friday during Lent.
Cabin 61, 4150 Hoffman Road, Fridays lunch or dinner. Wild Alaskan battered cod, french fries, creamy coleslaw, $13. More info 651-340-8415.
St. Pius X, 3878 Highland Ave., Feb. 26 and March 26. Curbside to-go dinner includes fried or baked cod, baked potato, coleslaw and dinner roll. Cost is $12. Preorders, additional details available at churchofstpiusx.org/winterfest.
Red Lobster, 2925 White Bear Ave. Indulge in hand-battered, wild-caught cod served with fries and coleslaw for $11.99.
VFW Post 1782, 4496 Lake Ave. S. Friday Fish Fry through Easter. Reservations limited to 90 minutes due to high demand. Take-out is also available. More info 651-426-4944.
The Village Sports Bar at the Stadium, 3600 Hoffman Road. Fish fry Fridays $14.99 for center-cut Atlantic cod tenderloins (beer-battered and fried or broiled), choice of potato and coleslaw. More info 651-770-8670 or villageinnstadium.com.
Smokey’s Pub ‘N Grill, 552 Lincoln Drive. Handmade beer-battered Atlantic cod fish fry every Friday for $12.50. Includes two 1/4 lb Atlantic cod fillets, slaw, house tartar, and fries or tater tots. Add extra cod fillets for $3.50 each. More info: smokeyspubngrill.net.