Fish Fry #2 2023 – St. Joseph’s in Avon Lake

← Drive here

Don’t park here

St. Joseph’s Parish was founded in 1949, but it has become known for its fish fry since the new pastor arrived a few years ago. Saint Joseph’s has been served by six pastors in its history. Its current pastor is Father Ronald J. Wearsch, who has Avon Lake roots and is a trained chef.  Father Wearsch arrived in mid-2013. The church began hosting its fish fry in St. Joseph’s former church building in 2014, but quickly had to move to a new parish and family center facility to accommodate the hundreds of people who flocked from the suburbs surrounding Avon Lake.

No waiting at the prepaid table
Gym entrance from soup station
Need assistance? Use me.

This fish fry is so popular that they encourage (nay, urge) you to order and pay ahead online. You can specify your pick-up time to ensure your meals are hot and they don’t sell out. Online ordering starts the Saturday before the fish fry and starts cutting off at 5 PM on Thursday, when the items are then subject to limited fulfilment. No orders are taken after 2 PM on Friday.

Green beans, perch, shrimp
Baked cod, baked salmon

Pro tip: Parking is in the BACK of the church. Just follow the line of cars. Stay to the left for Dine-in eating and to the right for Take-out pick-up. You can only enter from Lake Road. Don’t be a dummy like me and take the first open spot you see. I ended up having to walk ALL THE WAY around the church and ALL THE WAY to the back of the Parish (for an idea of how far it is, watch this drone footage from the website – I parked in the very last spot on the left next to the sidewalk and facing the church, and the entrance (blue awning) is all the way to the right behind the church and in the back rear corner of the parking lot). The Credit Union entrance with a blue awning is the entrance to the fish fry. I found a wonderful parishioner who was willing to drive me back to my car (thanks, D.!), because the idea of walking back while carrying my take-out was daunting.

Soup station
Beverage station
Baked cod and sweet potato (better photo to come)

If you have preordered and prepaid, you will be directed to a worker at the table who has that day’s orders. I had ordered a meal to eat in and one to take out. They called to confirm it wasn’t a mistake and were ready for me. Most take-out orders are fulfilled in the drive-thru car lines. A volunteer greeted me at the door to the gymnasium and explained how the system worked. The chowder/bisque was on the wall across from the entrance, and the food was to the right on the wall by the stage. Water (for hot tea), coffee, iced tea and lemonade are included with dine-in service and are on a table in the very middle (and coffee carts circulate the gym). Soda and bottled water are available for purchase.

They had a bunch of helpful young boys willing to carry my tray and grab some beverages for me – and there is a little hand fly swatter on the table that you can wave if you need something. I (and my helper Colin) grabbed trays and gathered my meals (both dine-in and take-out) as I made my way through the stations. I decided to sit near the soup and sat with a lovely couple. After the wife left to do dishes, two other couples joined us at the table.

I had heard amazing things about the Baked Verlasso Salmon with a chardonnay dill sauce. I have never seen anything like this on a fish fry menu. The closest “exotic” thing may be the crumb coated cod at St. Gabriel’s in Concorde or baked lemon-pepper haddock or crab cakes at St. Mary’s in Hudson. This is about the most perfect thing I have ever eaten. It was exquisite, and the first bite literally brought a tear to my eye. I would eat this every day if I could. I’m definitely going to try to recreate it at home and start eating more salmon. All of the fish dinners are served with green beans (not canned) and slaw, and I added pierogi to the dinner. Other sides include baked potato, sweet potato (which looked amazing!), mac and cheese, grilled cheese, cabbage and noodles, and tater tots.

I also chose to add a New England clam chowder to my dine in order. The soups are generous portions (12 ounces) and obviously homemade. The clam chowder had chunks of carrot, potato, and corn along with the clams. It was unlike any other chowder I’ve had, but I kind of dug it. I definitely finished every last drop of it, and it was very filling.

I ordered a Lake Erie perch dinner with tartar sauce and a tomato bisque to go. I popped one of the pierogi in with it for later. I reheated the perch and pierogi in my air fryer for lunch today. The perch was still moist and sweet. I think I understand why people love perch so much now. The tomato bisque was absolutely delicious – even better than the chowder. Apparently the bisque is the Father’s favorite to make. If I am not mistaken it had little chunks of tomato and onion as well as rice in it to bulk it out. I really liked it!

This fish fry was an A+. I am doing something that I rarely do and going back this season on March 17th. A lot of fish fries are not operating since it is St. Patrick’s Day, but St. Joseph’s is offering a “Special St. Patrick’s Day menu” featuring a corned beef and cabbage dinner with roasted potatoes, carrots and slaw. I will also be ordering the baked cod with mango chutney. The cod looks delicious, and I tried the chutney from the container lid and liked it. And you know I’ll be getting a salmon dinner to go!

Contact info:

St. Joseph’s Parish
32929 Lake Road
Avon Lake
Fry time: 4:30 to 7 p.m. Fridays Feb. 24 to March 31 (no fish fry on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday).


2 thoughts on “Fish Fry #2 2023 – St. Joseph’s in Avon Lake”

  1. Lois and Don here! Thanks for the long drive (and even longer walk!) to get to us. We’re glad you enjoyed St. Joes, and look forward to seeing you on the 17th!

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