Since I have a birthday dinner tonight and I’m leaning towards the Beef Wellington Pierogi, I decided to get my fish on at a lunch fish fry. There are a lot of pluses for attending a lunch fish fry (no long lines, generous servings, driving home in the daylight – although it was cloudy due to the heavy snow). That said, I can’t imagine it is that financially viable. I was there from 12:30 to 1, and I could count on one hand (maybe two) how many people were served. St. Joseph’s serves lunch from 11:30 to 1:00 and dinner from 3:30 to 7. The signage out front along the sreet ensures you can’t miss it.
A sign or arrows indicating where the fish fry was being held would have been nice. I parked on the side of the church wth the other cars near the entrance. It was on the back of the main building, but not as far as the Activity Center. I asked a woman who was picking up a disabled family member at the door after their meal and she pointed to the door that looked like a restaurant entrance. She praised the shrimp. If I have learned anything this year, I have learned to always listen to the recommendations.
St. Joseph’s fish fry is $10 for lunch and $16 for dinner for one main item of either a tuna salad sandwich on a croissant, fried walleye, baked scrod, shrimp, or homemade potato pierogi from Rudy’s Strudel and Bakery in Parma. Dinners also comes 2 more pieces of shrimp along with Jell-O and rolls and butter. Additional items cost $5. SinceI wanted to try a bit of everything, I ordered extra shrimp or pierogi and was given a ticket for the walleye and two “boats”.
I grabbed a tray and worked my way down the serving line, grabbing a cole slaw from the choice of apple sauce or cole slaw, then my choice of potato (au gratin, sweet potato and french fries) and on to the main event – walleye, shrimp, and pierogi (plus lots of lovely carmelized onions!) and sour cream, tartar sauce, cocktail sauce and butter. The fish was nothing to write home about; it was okay. It had a nice flavorful breading and wasn’t dried out. The shrimp and pierogi were outstanding, and I’m glad I splurged on them. The shrimp were plump and tasty, and so were the pierogi! I’d expect nothing less from Rudy’s pierogi! The au gratin potatoes are an inspired side dish. I’ve never seen it on any other fish fry menu. The potatoes were a cheesy, creamy dream.
Let me just say that you can always count on a healthy dose of horseradish in the cocktail sauce at a Byzantine or Orthodox church! I mentioned it to one of the workers as I was leaving, and he is the one who makes it. He told me he was once told by a parishoner that she brought her own cocktail sauce because his was “too wimpy.” Well, now he goes heavy on the horseradish.
You can enjoy their fish fry year round. The fish fry is so successful, parishioners decided to continue the tradition outside of the Lenten season. Apart from the six week stint during Lent, they hold a “First Fryday Fish Fry” from 4-7 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. All proceeds from the “First Fryday Fish Fry” help defray the costs of feeding the homeless at the Men’s Shelter in Cleveland. Roughly 10 percent of the final Lenten sales also go to the ministry.
St. Joseph Byzantine Catholic Church
8111 Brecksville Road
Brecksville, OH 44141