West Side Fish Fry – 2014 Review

The West Side of Cincinnati is well known for its deep Catholic heritage, with 19 churches in this area alone. Throughout the Lenten season, parishes host fish fries on Ash Wednesday and Fridays for their community to attend. Local businesses also join in on the fish fry fun, and it helps to spread out the market. Three Quill students took to six different Catholic churches around the area to see what the fish fries are all about.

Our Lady of the Visitation

Visitation holds their fish fry in their cafeteria, which is also known as their old gym. There were cars lined up for a long time to get their fish, which was one of the best fish I’ve ever had.

Collin Truitt, a sophomore, was working at the event. “There were about 70 people eating in the main hours,” he said. “It was a good experience, and I think that people should appreciate the things that people do for those events.”

Our Lady of the Visitation also has a drive-thru window and other amenities to make your experience better. All proceeds help the Boy Scouts of Visi.

Bridgetown Finer Meats

While not a church, Bridgetown Finer Meats still has a great fish sandwich. It’s a very popular tradition on Bridgetown Road.

Gian Salamone, a senior at Elder, works at Bridgetown Finer Meats. “Bridgetown Road gets super backed up, even with the help of police officers directing traffic, due to the BFM’s fish fry.”

Bridgetown Finer Meats also uses a drive-thru window, and is right by Stanley’s and Hattings. Many Panthers work there as well.

St. William

Upon entering St. Williams’ cafeteria briefly after the opening hours of their annual fish fry, the energy was immediately eminent. A crowd of people were already eating despite the fish fry only opening about 15 minutes ago. The place was buzzing and music was being played by a D.J., the technology used at the fish fry was unlike any used at the others. Orders were taken by tablets and computers with gigantic monitors were used to pay for the food, but the atmosphere and tradition was what attracted the customers.

“We’ve been here before,” said repeating customer, Sue Vogt. “The food was great.”

Not only is it the food and the atmosphere that brings back the people, but the workers and company is a nice bonus as well.

“The people here are great,” said Elder junior David Stamper who was working at St. William for service hours. “Everyone is really nice and polite.”

St. Teresa

The fish fry at St. Teresa is located behind the doors of Avila Hall, which is about 100 feet away from the main church building. The place was buzzing and the food smelled great. Once I quickly received my fish sandwich delivered by a member of St. Teresa’s Boy Scout team, I was kindly greeted by the man who was in charge of the whole thing, Dan Sullivan. Dan explained to me that he is an ex- US Navy officer and we talked for about 10 minutes about ourselves and how the food was. The service and kindness of the workers and volunteers at the St. Teresa Fish Fry was second to none, and that alone made it worth going to.


Our Lady of Lourdes

On its second Friday of operation, I went to the Our Lady of Lourdes Fish Fry. Starting at 5:00, I worked side-by-side with the Lourdes’ Boy Scout Troop 471. My job was to be a runner. That meant that I stayed in the kitchen by the fryers where I loaded the French fries, shrimp, fish sticks, mushrooms, cheese sticks, and cod into the frying baskets. Once the food was done frying, I carried the food on paper boats and metals pans to the dine-in and carry-out food lines.

After three hours of working, and few grease burns later, it was time for me to chow down. The menu had a wide array of foods that included tender salmon, mac n’ cheese, coleslaw, fish sandwiches, French fries, crab cakes, and shrimp amongst others. I decided to order a cod sandwich on rye bread with a side of French fries and coleslaw. The cod was tender with a crunchy fried coating and once I sunk my teeth into it, I instantly discovered how delectable its slightly buttery taste was. The coleslaw was also top-notch, along with the crispy salted fries. Lastly, for dessert I had a delicious piece of cherry pie.

St. Lawrence

            The week after I worked at the Lourdes fish fry and sampled its great food, I visited the fish fry of St. Lawrence on Warsaw, just a few blocks from Elder. All three of us craving fried fish, I went with my dad and little brother to St. Lawrence. The minute we walked into the cafeteria, we smelled the distinctive but mouth- watering smell of the fried food.

The St. Lawrence menu included salmon, French fries, mac ‘n cheese, coleslaw, green beans, and of course, cod sandwiches. The fried fish sandwiches at Lawrence are distinctive in that you can get them either regular fried or beer battered. Like I did at Lourdes, I got a regular fried cod sandwich on rye bread. The cod was very succulent and tender, and it had a similar great taste to the cod of Lourdes. The coleslaw, which had a little bit of pepper, was also worthy of praise. My other side, French fries with tartar sauce, was a good complement to the meal. Overall, the food at St. Lawrence was so good that I was sad once my food was gone.