This is a story of two churches. St. Sava Cathedral and St. Sava Church are both Serbian Orthodox churches that are located south of Cleveland. One (the Cathedral) is located at the border of Seven Hills and Parma on Broadview Road, while the other one (St. Sava Church/Hall) is located on Wallings Road in Broadview Heights. You can see where the confusion is almost guaranteed. According to a parishioner we spoke with today, there was a falling out in the church that cleaved them into two churches years ago. Things are better now, but they are still two distinct churches with a similar name.
Last year I went to St. Sava Cathedral’s fish fry on Broadview Road. It was very Orthodox. I didn’t love it and heard the St. Sava Church’s fish fry was very different and better. I wanted to compare the two, so I planned on eating at St. Sava Church this time around. I learned from my mistakes last year and brought butter with me. Because they are very Orthodox and it is Lent, so no dairy is allowed. Although they served sour cream with the pierogi today, so color me confused.
First of all, the church is located on W. Wallings Road about 1 mile past the intersection of Broadview Road and W. Wallings Road. You can’t miss the signs. I got there right at 4:30 and met a friend there. Two other friends planned to meet us a little later on and had no trouble finding us. There were already lots of people coming out carrying take-out containers at 4:30. The fish fry is held in the Main Hall behind the church. Enter through the doors on the right and get in line. I just followed a group from the parking lot. There was already quite a line at 4:30. We chit-chatted a bit until we got to the front of the line. They have it running like a well-oiled machine. Tables are positioned two together so there is a lot of space between you and the person sitting across from you. Long tables with serving chafing dishes line the back wall.
There were signs advertising three different dinners – $12 for 1 piece of fried fish, 6 fried shrimp and 2 sides or 6 pierogi, $14 for 1 piece of fish and 3 shrimp and 2 sides or $15 for baked salmon and 2 sides. All dinners come with coleslaw and a dinner roll. They don’t advertise the sides, because they vary every week. This week we could choose from something called O’Brien potatoes, steamed mixed veggies or pierogi. I chose the potatoes and the pierogi, then opted to get the bean soup ($3) and a Lenten stuffed cabbage roll ($2). The bean soup was really good. I brought it home to eat later.
I didn’t think about the fact that the Lenten stuffed cabbage roll contained no meat. It was essentially rice, tomato sauce and carrot stuffed in a cabbage leaf. It was different, but I don’t think it was worth an extra $2. It would have been a fun and different side. Unless you really love rice and cabbage, save your cabbage.
The salmon looked amazing, but I decided to try the fish and shrimp. They were both moist and tasty. The potatoes were weird. I guess they roast them with red and green bell peppers and onion until they break down to mush and mix them with some kind of Serbian vegetable paste (?). They were okay, but the baby food consistency turned me off. There is nothing wrong with roasted chunks of potatoes.
The pierogi were decent, but they didn’t strike me as homemade. They were too uniform. I also ordered a cherry strudel, because I remember the strudel last year was magical. It was definitely flaky, but I think it might have been flash-fried. I definitely tasted fried oil. I preferred the Cathedral’s strudel and rolls. I also shelled out another $2 for two cans of pop (you can also buy bottled water). The coffee is free, but I don’t drink coffee this late in the day.
The place was packed from the moment we got there at 4:30 until we left at 6:30. They serve from 4:30 to 7:00 every Friday in Lent from February 24th to April 7th – dine in and carry out. They were also really pushing their Bake Sale on April 8th. It’s supposed to be amazing. I have to say that I am tempted to go to Bingo Night there one Tuesday or Thursday. Just because they take it so seriously. They have a huge light-up board and professional machines to mix the balls. It puts my little metal Bingo spinner and wooden balls from my grandparents to shame.
St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church
2151 W. Wallings Road
Broadview Heights, OH 44147