Fish fries are undoubtedly a Lenten tradition in Carlynton area
It comes as a surprise upon entering St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Carnegie that the front foyer smells as fresh as a daisy.
But as doors to the elevator that goes to St. Luke Hall in the basement open, there's a whoosh of a frying oil smell.
It's easy to tell where in any church the Lenten fish fry is located.
But Seton parishioners wouldn't have it any other way.
“We come here every week and we sit in the same seats,” said Carol Crowley, 63, of of Collier, a member of the parish for three years who takes her parents to the fish fry.
Her father, August Miller, 89, and mother, Bernadette Miller, 86, are members of St. Bernard Parish in Mt. Lebanon, but they accompany their daughter to the Seton fish fry to spend time with her.
“The french fries are the best,” August Miller said. His wife agreed, also saying, “I like that I don't have to smell up my own house.”
Tim Castello, parish business manager who is serving as fish-fry chairman for the first time, said the parish's baked cod is the most popular item.
He said the daylong hours for the fries benefit patrons. “You don't have to choose between lunch and dinner,” Castello said.
St. Elizabeth's fish fry attracted Bishop David Zubik, who attended on Feb. 15.
The church, 330 3rd Ave., Carnegie, holds its fish fries through Good Friday. Phone orders are taken from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 412-276-1011 ext. 220. Dinners are served from noon to 6:30 p.m.
An ethnic choice
Lebanese-inspired meals top the Lenten menu at Our Lady of Victory Maronite Parish in Scott, which offers the cultural foods while maintaining the fast from meat.
“The side dishes are all Lebanese-based, and the food is appealing to the people who come in because they can count on it being healthy,” said Anne Ayoob, a long-time parishioner who organizes the fish fries.
Our Lady of Victory exclusively offers tilapia instead of cod because of the healthiness of the fish. It is one of the only items that the church provides. The rest come from church members.
“Our side dishes each week come from family sponsors,” Ayoob said. “Each week a family is responsible for producing all of the side dishes that we will sell. We couldn't do it without all of the families.”
The extensive menu includes meatless grape leaves; sleek, which is greens, such as spinach or kale, cooked in onions and garlic; and potato kibbeh and rishta, among many other things.
The parish plans to build a new church and proceeds from the fish fries will go toward the building fund.Our Lady of Victory, 1000 Lindsay Road, operates its fries from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fridays in Lent, except Good Friday.
Fish fry funds
Proceeds from fish fries at Holy Child Parish, Bridgeville, go to operation of its parish school, whose students assist with the fries, and even offer their own take on it.
One student calls the weekly fries the “Jesus Christ Restaurant,” said Doreen Solomon of Bridgeville, whose son, Domenic, attends Holy Child School.
“The kids run orders and serve food to both of the dining rooms, and make sure all of the take out orders get to where they are supposed to go,” she said.
Regan Adamski, 13, a seventh-grader, said she is glad to assist. “It's great to volunteer and know that you're helping the community,” she said.
Holy Child offers online orders and a “Frequent Fry-er” card, which gives the cardholder a free dinner after a certain number of purchases.
Holy Child, 212 Station St., Bridgeville, holds its fries from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays in Lent, including Good Friday.
Jacquie Harris is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.