After finishing my invoicing for the month I was ready for a fish fry last night. I referred to my shortlist, and the first on the list was also one of the closest to me. DiCillo Tavern is located on Mayfield Road in Mayfield, close to Golden Gate. It sticks out in the sea of strip malls because it is an old house. It’s got this good quality hole in the wall vibe going for it. In fact, it reminds me of the old Suds MacGuire in Olmsted Falls – an old house that was a dive bar/restaurant and had killer fish fries. DiCillo has been serving their famous “Whaler” fish fry dinner since 1933. The fish fry is take-out only this year, daily from 4 to 8 p.m.
I headed out shortly after 5 and arrived there at 5:45. I had tried to call in my order, but no one answered the phone. The parking lot was packed with big trucks. I got one of the last easy-to-access parking spaces (the trucks were not parked straight so there were gaps). I was surprised to see so many vehicles and expected a long wait. I was pleased to see the bar side was packed with patrons (no masks as far as I could see, but they were in a separate room), while the restaurant side was hopping with take-out pick-ups. I placed my order and was told it would be about a half an hour. I had planned to sit in my car, but I was told I could sit in the socially distanced restaurant area while I waited. By the time my order was ready I was not the only person sitting around the restaurant, but we were all masked and sitting at tables divided with plexi-glass.
I was surprised when my order was only $24. I had ordered the Fisherman’s Sampler ($18), which contained a “mini” Whaler, a couple pieces of perch, and a couple fried shrimp. I ordered the pierogi as a side dish ($6) and the clam chowder ($6). She had added the pierogi as my side, so I didn’t pay extra for them. I slipped her a couple bucks as a tip and was on my way home. I had to play parking Jenga to leave because two cars had blocked the exit row and two other cars were parked along the side with their flashers on.
As to the fish fry itself, it was delicious. The only down side was the pierogi, which I would not be surprised were Mrs. T’s. Luckily I didn’t end up paying extra for them. The clam chowder had a thicker consistency than most milk-based chowders and it was chock full of clams and potatoes. I think the consistency might have come from the potatoes breaking down. I really enjoyed it.
The fried fish and shrimp were delicious. Perfectly fried and overcooked or dry. I can see why the Whaler is so popular because that particular piece of fish is stunning. It is a large portion with firm white meat inside. The perch were okay. They were flatter and consistent, which leads me to believe they are frozen, not fresh. But perch is perch and adored by many here in Cleveland. I also adored the coleslaw. It had a nice horseradish bite to it and was really creamy. If I go back again (and let’s be honest, I just might) I’ll order a Whaler and a huge side of coleslaw. If you are on the east side, you can’t go wrong with DiCillo’s. But order early. They ran out of chowder at 6:30.
6088 Mayfield Road
Mayfield Heights, OH 44124