It’s usually not too hard to find a local fish fry, especially during Lent, but there is no national database of Fish Fries that we know of. The good news is that many cities and especially those in the Midwest known for their passionate Fish Fry culture publish local guides to help people find the perfect spot. With this in mind, we thought we’d create our own directory of local Fish Fry guides from around the country. Whether you live in one of these fair cities or will be visiting during the Lenten season, these resources can help you quickly find iconic Fish Fry locations as well as places that tend to fly under the radar but offer a delicious, friendly, and affordable dining experience.
Top Ten Cities for Friday Fish Fry
- Milwaukee: Looking neighborhood-by-neighborhood? Fox 6 Now offers a dynamic map finder that shows the best fish fries across the city. You can also view this list of summaries for 100 restaurants and 10 churches in Milwaukee with a Fish Fry. Many of these places host events year-round, not just during Lent.
- Minneapolis-St. Paul: This annotated list of 14 restaurants and 23 churches will help you find the perfect spot without traveling all over the Twin Cities area. You can also view this list of every parish in St. Paul and Minneapolis with a Fish Fry.
- Buffalo: WGRZ maintains a dynamic map finder that covers the numerous spots across the city. Looking for a more traditional list. Here’s a directory of about 65 options in the greater Buffalo area. Macaroni or potato salad are common side dishes.
- Syracuse: This smaller city shouldn’t be overlooked for some of the very best locations on this entire list. The list may not be as long, but we recommend these seven essential places for fried fish in Syracuse.
- Cincinnati: One of the few cities in which the local history of the Fish Fry tradition does not trace itself back to Catholicism. Whether it’s a church, fire department, or community center, any organization or club may host a Fish Fry social night. And it’s not enough that you serve fried fish. It’s an event. As such, the best guide isn’t for restaurants and church locations, but rather a calendar of events.
- Pittsburgh: Here is one of the highest per capita cities in the entire country for sheer number of Fish Fries. This Fish Fry list put together by KDKA Pittsburgh has nearly 150 locations. In Pittsburgh, you might get served a side of Halusky, or cabbage and noodles.
- Chicago: In many ways, it feels like the Fish Fry scene gets folded into the larger seafood and foodie scene. WGN offers this dynamic map of more than 50 fish fry locations around the Chicagoland area. Looking for a more traditional experience? Here is a list of reviews for 7 Lenten Fish Fries in Chicago.
- St. Louis: The Gateway to the West may not sound like a destination spot for seafood, but when it comes to fish fries, a river is as good as an ocean. And the religious tradition is right there in the name. Thus, it’s no surprise that this dynamic map from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has 110 Fish Fry locations.
- Cleveland: Whether at a local church or a local restaurant, a Cleveland Fish Fry is more likely to feature perch, walleye, or whitefish from the Great Lakes. The side dish of choice in Cleveland might be a couple perogies. This dynamic and curated map reveals 41 locations in and around town.
- New Orleans: Needless to say, things are a little different when it comes to finding an option for seafood in New Orleans. However, here is a solid list of the top ten Lenten Fish Fries in New Orleans.
Create Your Own Local Fish Night
As much as the heritage of the Fish Fry is in large group events with dining hall seating, there’s no reason you can’t host your own Lent-inspired Fish Night for friends and family. It doesn’t even have to be fried fish. Salmon, lobster, halibut, and many other types of seafood can be a nutritious and delicious option for your Lent-themed dinner party.