CATHOLIC HERALD STAFF
Full disclosure, dear reader: I knew going in that I would like this fish fry. The beautiful thing about the St. Peter Claver fish fry is that it’s held year-round, so last October, when the absolute only way I wanted to celebrate my 30th birthday was with fried fish in a church basement, I didn’t need to wait until Lent — all I had to do was hop on I-43 for a bit of a drive.
It was delicious in October, and it was delicious earlier this month when I stopped by for an early seating on an unseasonably warm first Friday. I remembered last fall the kitchen volunteers had substituted Lake Perch with a different kind of fish which had been unexpectedly delicious, so I was actually pretty excited to see a sign on the church door announcing that, with the perch shortage still in effect, Sauger Pike would be served.
I don’t know what Sauger Pike is, other than that it’s pretty fantastic when breaded and dunked in tartar sauce (which, at St. Peter Claver, doesn’t come in stingy single-serve packets — you get a whole container for the table. Rejoice, fellow tartar enthusiasts).
I was shocked and heartened to see that there was already a very sizable crowd assembling in the parish hall, even though I arrived exactly as doors opened at 4:30 p.m. I’m happy to see the community here appreciates and supports the efforts of the volunteers who keep this event going during the whole calendar year (almost — they do take a break in the summer).
One thing I had forgotten about the fish fry was how affordable it is. A two-piece meal is just $8.50, a four-piece meal will run you $11, and if you’re feeling like a really big spender, shell out the $13.50 for the six-piece. All meals come with perfectly crisp French fries or potato salad, applesauce or coleslaw and a slice of marble rye bread. Beverages are available for purchase but are also very pleasantly priced — $1 for soda and water, 50 cents for coffee or milk, and $2.50 for beer. My meal and my kids’ two meals ran us just $15.50 — a real miracle of loaves and fishes, if you ask me.
The St. Peter Claver fish fry is held every first Friday of the month in Van Treek Hall from 4:30 to 7 p.m. (none in June, July and August).