Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

No limit on Minnesota fish fries March 3, 2017

This recent roadside photo I snapped of Mac's Fish & Chips, on the corner of Hamline and Larpenteur in St. Paul, prompted this blog post. Mac serves deep-fried halibut, walleye, cod, shrimp, clams and, yes, chicken, along with a few sides in this former Clark Gas Station building. You can also buy Mac's battered walleye at Target Field in Minneapolis.

This recent roadside photo I snapped of Mac’s Fish & Chips, on the corner of Hamline and Larpenteur in St. Paul, prompted this blog post. Mac’s serves deep-fried halibut, walleye, cod, shrimp, clams and, yes, chicken, along with a few sides in this former Clark Gas Station building. You can also buy Mac’s battered walleye at Target Field in Minneapolis.

IT’S THE SEASON of the Friday Night Fish Fry in Minnesota.

As a life-long Lutheran, I’ve never been part of the Catholic-based tradition of eating fish on Fridays during Lent. But I respect that deep-rooted practice of shunning meat, although I will admit I’ve always considered fish to be meat. Catholics have a different opinion.

A snippet of two side-by-side ads that published on Thursday in the Faribault Daily News.

A snippet of two side-by-side ads for a Friday Fish Fry and for a Friday Lenten Soup Luncheon that published in the Faribault Daily News.

That aside, the beginning of Lent this week kicks off church and community fish fries, not to mention Friday fish specials at restaurants and Knights of Columbus halls. The Twin Cities-based The Catholic Spirit contacted all of the parishes in the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese for a list of fish fries and Lenten meals. Ninety-one responded. From Our Lady of the Prairie in Belle Plaine to St. Bridget of Sweden in Lindstrom to St. Albert the Great in Minneapolis, congregations will be serving fish aplenty and accompanying side dishes.

Fish Fry details from the St. Bridget of Sweden website.

Fish Fry details from the St. Bridget of Sweden website.

I’ve dined at enough church dinners—Catholic, Lutheran and otherwise—to know that food prepared by the faithful is often some of the best and tastiest. Perhaps it’s time I tried a fish fry.

TELL ME: Have you dined at a church-hosted fish fry? Where? Here’s your opportunity to recommend a fish fry.

FYI: Click here for the list of fish fries and Lenten meals compiled by The Catholic Spirit.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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25 Responses to “No limit on Minnesota fish fries”

  1. If you can’t be in New England, I’d give Mac’s a try sounds like they know what they’re doing!

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    At noon, I head for Blooming Prairie to help out with our fish fry. If anyone is in the area, it will be held at the Serviceman’s club from 5:00 to 7:30 today.

    (Audrey, I hope you don’t mind the shameless plug) 🙂

    • Greg, I invited promotion, so thank you for telling us about the BP Fish Fry.

      My question: Is Stan helping or will he simply show up to dine? Your readership (or at least this reader) recommends you pen a piece about the Fish Fry.

      • Almost Iowa Says:

        Stan has been eighty-sixed from every bar and Fish Fry in the state. Let’s just say that his enthusiasm gets the better of him. 🙂

        I will have to do something on the Fish Fry – but keep in mind, not a thing I write can (or should) be believed.. 🙂

      • Oh, no, Stan blacklisted from fish fries.

        Oh, but Greg, I do believe much of what you write. You see, I can read between the lines. I prefer truth to alternative facts. It is the journalist in me. And that puts me in the reviled and dishonest category in the eyes of “some.” Sigh.

      • Almost Iowa Says:

        Actually, I am a huge fan of alternate facts. I have spent enough time in court rooms and among forensic scientists to realize that contradictory and mutually exclusive facts more often than not live in complete harmony. I think that is the wisdom of our system that the puzzle of truth and justice is tossed to twelve people picked at random to puzzle it out. 🙂

      • Now you’ve given me something to ponder…

      • Almost Iowa Says:

        Probably the most brilliant guy I ever knew studied subatomic physics at the U of M. It is a field of study where alternate and contradictory facts actually do live in harmony.

        He once complained that too many people try to reconcile facts by determining which of opposing facts is true. When one fact says A and another points to B, the truth is rarely found in either and most often found in something like Q.

  3. Jackie Says:

    I do not eat seafood so I am of no help here 🙂 Once a year we take Gavin to Red Lobster for his birthday…. I eat chicken, ha!

    • Ah, yes, I remember this about you. No seafood for Jackie.

      I really enjoy seafood, especially shrimp (just prepared last evening) and lobster (a rare occasion treat). I’ve never dined at Red Lobster, but have always wanted to do so.

  4. We have good fish/seafood resources down here and I am learning how to cook it at home. I have been trying different avenues of eating than fried and learning how to grill, saute, roast fish and seafood at home for healthier versions. I do crave a good fish fry or shrimp fry though and lean into moderation when it comes to that craving. Now I am hungry. Happy Weekend – Enjoy 🙂

    • I can only imagine the wonderful fresh fish options you have. And, yes, trying alternatives to fried is a great idea. My husband and I have switched to eating healthier after he signed on for a weight loss challenge at work. We’re eating less, eliminating most carbs, avoiding anything with sugar and not eating after supper. He’s lost about 10 pounds and I’m close. Clothes are fitting looser and that’s great.

  5. Don Says:

    When we are traveling through the Midwest a Friday night fish fry is always on our list of things to do! Walleye is our fish of choice due to the fact that it is not readily available here. Now I am hungry thinking about it but alas it’s Friday and not a fish fry in sight here…………………….

    • I think cod is the fish on most Fish Fry menus. But, like you, walleye would be my top Minnesota fish choice.

      What I’m really craving, though, is some Alaskan halibut. My retired Air Force brother-in-law once gave us some. It’s the best. And I like Alaskan salmon, too. An Alaskan angler was vending smoked salmon last evening at a pop-up winter farmer’s market in Faribault. No, I didn’t make the market. Maybe next time.

  6. Don Says:

    Halibut is one of our favorites too and we usually have some in our freezer, hummm it’s Friday and perhaps a fish fry at home tonight is in order!

  7. Sounds like a fun time. I’ve never been to a fish fry


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