The Big Ragu never does anything half baked (or fried in this instance). We take Food Adventures to the extreme and set the trends. Again, we bring you something original that you won’t see anywhere else, a recap of every fish fry we could find in the Miami Valley. Now, the Lenten season is over, and they last fryer has been turned off. You know the drill, all-you-can-eat fish dinners, beer, condiment tables, silent auctions, raffle tickets and casino games. So which ones rocked our gills off? Answer: They all have their appeal, and special draw, but four of them really stood out.
Ladies and Gentlemen, here are the “Sweet Sixteen,” our recap of the Dayton’s 2013 Catholic Fish Frys:
Food Adventures jumps at any chance to support Dayton causes, and with Big Ragu being Catholic, we bought tickets to every fish fry in town. We will list our favorites aka the “FANTASTIC FOUR FISH FRYS”, then list the others in random order and what makes each fish fry special.
THE FANTASTIC FOUR FISH FRYS:
1) OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY–22 Notre Dame Ave.
This one was the grand daddy of them all and our favorite fish fry. For the past 52 years they have held fish frys, making this probably the oldest one in Dayton, This church holds fish frys from Sept – February before the Lenten season. The staff is wonderful and our friend Amy even took us on a tour of the church. A friendly cook named Joseph makes all of the delicous, homemade desserts himself. We know because we tried them all. This church has a heavy influence of Polish, Lithuainian, Hungarian, and German parishioners. These events have a loyal following of regulars like our pal Ron who drove all the way from Wilmington, Ohio to attend. The Monte Carlo was fun and food was great. We especially like the fact that the draft beer is unlimited in the 12 dollar price, along with fresh sausages, Icelandic cod. In our book, this fish fry is Dayton’s best.
2) HOLY TRINITY CHURCH – 272 Bainbridge St.
This was a fish fry where everyone seemed to know each other. The crowd was small, but friendly and tight knit. The food was absolutely amazing. The cod was cooked to perfection and hand cut on site. One of the attractions is they use the Old Focke’s Meats recipe for Waldorf sausages. We enjoyed the old church located near the Oregon District, downtown. One unique part of this event is that this church offered an alcohol free family fish fry from 4pm-5:30pm for kids, then had the adult party after. Three beer tickets are given with paid admission. The atmosphere, great food and hospitality makes this one of the best fish frys in the Miami Valley.
3) ST MARY CATHOLIC CHURCH: 310 Allen St.
Here we find the best story told at a fish fry. We sat near 87 year old Vic Woeste, an icon of the St Mary’s community who has been dealing casino games at the fish frys for the past 36 years. His entire family is involved in the church down to 3 generations. He told us he remembered a fish fry in 1960 where funds were used to buy the nuns a Ford Fairlane car who lived in the convent across the street. Oh the memories! Vic is looking forward to his 70th class reunion at Chaminade this year. He said it will be held in a telephone booth, since not many classmates are left. Vic also said he was baptized and married at St Mary’s. He recalls Father Ken Henz telling parishoners decades ago that he hatches, matches and dispatches loyal parishoners. Vic was a great man to talk to, indeed. This church group is so charitable that even the volunteers buy tickets as they enter. to help raise money for the boiler fund, beers were sold for 25cents and an extra 1 dollar donation got you a dessert. Again this event saw over 3 generations working the fish fry and over 300lbs of fish cooked and eaten.
4) CORPUS CHRISTI CHURCH – 527 Forest Ave.
This event was another fantastic fish fry for $15. It included all you want food and draft beer, we like those rules. The crowd was very friendly and it was obvious that many in attendance were close friends. This fish fry offered a healthy alternative of baked fish, along with the fried fish choices. The bustling atmosphere included 3 different dining areas. This particular fish fry has been going on for 25 years. The event is partially run by the “Corpus Christi Fryers.” They are a charitable group that donates time, manpower and money into running this event to help the church’s cause. The fish fry workers could not have been nicer, and the food was terrific. It was great to see a diverse group from all walks of life coming together for a good cause.
Here are the rest in random order, and what we loved about each Fish Fry!
ST PETER’S CHURCH – 6161 Chambersburg Rd
This event was $15 at door, and was packed. The line wrapped around the gym, but the wait was worth it. The food was delicious and the offerings were not only beer battered codfish, but onion rings, chicken wings, and huge hot dogs. What was even more amazing, is that one or two women seemed to be stocking the whole table for the hundreds of hungry people. The casino area featured unique games such as horse races. We also loved the fact that they offered Yuengling Black and Tan Beer. This was a fun and well attended event. Tip: come early and avoid the huge crowds.
ST CHARLES BORROMEO – One of the area fish fry’s run by the Hecht family volunteers. The fish was hot and fresh. highlights included the fantastic Saint Patty’s day decor theme. Some people really put some hard work into those decorations. Along with the tasty fish, a few beer tickets were included in the $15 price. Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy beer was available on tap. This fish fry also offered a “pre-event” that was family friendly and where kids were allowed to attend until 6pm. The eating area was offered in the school cafeteria while the casino games were in the gym.
CARROLL HIGH SCHOOL – Located at 4524 Linden Ave
This event was $16 to attend and included 5 beer tickets. The unique thing about this fish fry was the sheer choices of fish. They offered 3 kinds of fish. Choices were regular fried, Cajun fried, or baked fish. There were no fries in sight at this fish fry. Instead menu items included baked beans, cole slaw and potato salad. There was a huge choice of desserts at this event. A couple of long tables were filled with homemade pies, cakes, brownies and more. This event was steady and the environment was immaculately clean.
ST LUKE’S CHURCH – 1440 N. Fairfield Rd.
This fish fry was entirely kid friendly. The cost was 9 dollars for adults and $3.50 for children. No alcohol was served. The event was run by the Knights of Columbus a charity organization that benefits local families. The fish that was fried was cod from local distributor Foremost Seafood. There was also no gambling at this event. It was obvious that this fish fry was more about the family experience. They actually hold two fish frys, one in February and on in March. It should also be mentioned that the Ladies Auxillary made all of the desserts which were fantastic!
CHAMINADE JULIENNE HIGH SCHOOL – 505 S. Ludlow St.
This fish fry held at the High School, had a pretty good attendance. The fish was great and there were huge sheet cakes and brownies as well. We even saw one of the cooks bring out some nice cupcake pastries. Although a fairly new fish fry, this one is run with efficiency.
HOLY ANGELS CHURCH – 1322 Brown Street
This fish fry is in its 12th year. The volunteers Matt, Ruth, Denise, Leila were very friendly and greeted the crowds with a smile. Prices were 15 bucks at door and included soft drinks and all the beer you wanted as well. Get there early for this event, because parking is limited and you may get stuck parking across the other side of State route 48. Delicious haddock was the fried fish served to the hungry visitors. We really loved the fact that the beer was unlimited, and we didn’t have to fool around with drink tickets.
ST ALBERT THE GREAT – 104 W. Dorothy Lane
This event was $15 advance or $20 at door. They served some tasty, fried Icelandic cod. Like other fish frys, they had a carryout option for 9 bucks. This event had a ton of volunteers, mostly we saw in kitchen. We saw the raw fish being thawed, cut, dredged then deep fried by the Hecht Family, who runs a few of the area fish frys. In fact we saw that there were at least 3 generations of the family at the event. this event, casino earnings and raffle money all benefited the athletics. It helps to buy uniforms and keep students cost to participate as low as possible. We were told that for 40 years this event has been held and many run by the Hecht family. Attendance price included 5 beer tickets.
ST ANTHONY’S CHURCH– 830 Bowen St.
The church was celebrating it’s 100th year anniversary in 2013. The fish fry has not been around more than a decade or 2, but the place was packed. The entrance showed off a silent auction area and the casino games. Lines formed to get the fish and the cafeteria served as the eating place. The fish was so fresh and hot, that you had to let your plate cool. the staff was working hard and feeding the hungry event attendees. It was obvious that the workers took pride in this event and made it a fun and friendly atmosphere.
ST HENRY’S CHURCH– 6696 N. Springboro Pike
Event was held in the “Father Stretch Center.” The cost at the door was 15 bucks. The head priest Father Tom was greeting the attendees in the dining area. The fish served was large pieces of fried Haddock. The volunteers were friendly and the fish was light and flaky. Some of the better fried fish around was served here. The event also featured a large silent auction area.
INCARNATION PARRISH– 55 Williamsburg Ln.
This event gets packed. The crowds are big, so get there early. Like many fish frys they offer a carryout option, but with no discount. There was a large silent auction area, and many signs hung in the gymnasium featuring sponsors of the fish fry. Admission was 15 dollars and the fish served was fried Icelandic cod. Again, we saw some familiar faces of the Hecht family preparing the food for the masses. There is also a large choice of casino games at this well attended Parrish.
ALTER HIGH SCHOOL – 940 E. David Rd.
This fish fry draws the biggest crowds of all the area fish frys. Sometimes the line can be an hour wait. Our tip, get there early and plan on making an evening of it. The casino games are crowded, but there are many to choose from. There is even a high limit gambling area! Admission is 15 bucks and comes with 3 beer tickets. they have amped up the event recently by offering some craft beers for sale. This event usually has a huge silent auction, and you may even see current NY Jets Center Nick Mangold among the attendees. Again the Hecht family is responsible for the fish here, so you know you can expect big pieces of freshly cooked fish.
ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI -6245 Wilmington Pike
This was a very organized fish fry put on dozens of volunteers from the church. We liked the fact that they had baked fish as a choice as well as the typical fried fish. The dining area was crowded, so get to this one early. This was simply a beautiful church with a fun atmosphere at the fish fry.
NOW YOU KNOW !
Only here, can you see the most comprehensive fish fry summary of the Miami Valley known to man. FOOD ADVENTURES has given you some pointers on what to expect in 2014 Dayton area fish frys because they ate it all! Make sure that you scroll through the photo album below featuring every single fish fry. FYI, unfortunately some of the church websites do not have the greatest information about the fish frys. For that reason, make sure you stay tuned to DaytonMostMetro.com and Dayton Dining for all the dates and times of future fish frys. The bottom line here is that each Lenten season, Daytonians should take advantage of the great events and support some local churches. The fish frys are friendly and welcome all denominations of faith. It is about fun times and good causes. Now that the all-you-can eat fish frys have ended, it is time for us to “scale” back and swim on to the next Food Adventure !
DID YOU ATTEND SOME AREA FISH FRYS? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR FAVORITE? DID WE MISS ANY ? PLEASE COMMENT BELOW !
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