Where to find a delicious fish fry

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Lenten season on the liturgical calendar also marks the appearance of fish fries across our region.

Lent, beginning Wednesday, Feb. 22 and ending Thursday, April 6, is a time of reflection where many will give up something they love and, in exchange, can sink their teeth into a crispy tradition many of us look forward to.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

It’s the season of Lent and, simultaneously, it’s the season of golden delicious fish fries. These massive food events follow a simple and timeless recipe — a piece of fish soaked in an egg and milk bath followed by a corn meal, flour or bread crumb coat that is fried in a hot tub of oil.

Sue Graham, head of the welcome and hospitality committee for Ascension Catholic Parish in Kettering, headed the church’s fish fry on Friday, Feb. 24.

“It is not necessarily a fundraiser but what we like to call a ‘friend’-raiser,” said Graham. “(It’s) a chance to come together and socialize with our fellow parishioners. The Hecht family comes in and fries the fish for us. We have used them each year. Our former pastor, Chris Worland, is from the Hecht family so it was a natural place to start. It is a family event for them. They do a wonderful job and the fish is delicious. People know the name and come because of that.”

The annual meal includes fish, fries, cole slaw, and condiments. Grahman says they have added grilled cheese sandwiches for kids and anyone who is not a fish fan as well as homemade desserts provided by cooks in the parish.

The Hecht family’s involvement in local fish fries dates back to the 1950s when Ted Hecht’s father, Bob, who died in 1999, started tinkering with recipes for frying fish for Knights of Columbus Council 3730. He came upon a simple recipe that worked and eventually agreed to volunteer — along with his many family and friends — cooking for Catholic parishes south of Dayton. His work continues through his kids. Ted and other family members donate their time to organize and cook for more than a half dozen fish fries locally, helping raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Catholic parishes over the years.

A solid fish fry like the ones the Hecht family helps with is unquestionably one of the best dining deals to be found in the early part of each year. Most typically cost around $20 per person for an all-you-can-eat extravaganza of deep-fried walleye, haddock, sole, perch and cod depending on the menu.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

And don’t get us started on the sides. Fries, coleslaw, mac and cheese, green beans, hush puppies and desserts are just some of the accompanying options that can compete with the main course for attention. As an added bonus, there’s usually games of chance and the satisfying feeling that comes with knowing your money goes to benefit a good cause in the community.

The following list are some of the best opportunities to enjoy a fish fry in the next few months that have been announced. If your school, church, VFW Hall or other nonprofit organization (sorry, no restaurants or taverns) hosts a fish fry, we want to know about it. Send a message to alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com and we will try to include it in future coverage.

Please note: Details and pricing are subject to change. Some of these events are limited to those 21 and older as well. It is recommended you call first for complete details.

March 10, 17, 24, 31: Sacred Heart New Carlisle

209 W. Lake Ave., New Carlisle

937-845-3121, 5-7 p.m.

March 10, 17, 24, 31: Fish Fry-Days at St. John the Evangelist West Chester

9080 Cincinnati Dayton Road, West Chester

www.stjohnwc.org, 4:30-7 p.m.

March 10, 17, 24, 31: Antioch Shrine Fish Fries

107 E. First St., Dayton

937-461-4740, 6-9 p.m., $15 for a single plate, $1 draft beer, carry-out meals available for $12

March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31: Knights of Columbus Council 624 Springfield

2055 S. Bird Road, Springfield

937-323-9663, Starts at 6 p.m., $14 per person or $50 for four

March 10, 17, 24, 31, April 7: St. Benedict the Moor

519 Liscum Drive, Dayton

937-268-6697, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., $12 dinners, $9 sandwiches

March 10, 17: Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; K of C Council 3698 Fish Fry

407 E. Main St., Eaton

937-456-3395, 5-7 p.m., $12 per fish dinner

March 10: Carroll High School – St. Pat’s Irish Fish Fry

4524 Linden Ave., Dayton

937-253-8188, 6 p.m.-midnight, $20 in advance, $25 at the door

March 10: Church of the Incarnation

55 Williamsburg Lane, Centerville

937-433-1051, 5:30 p.m.–midnight, $20 in advance, $25 at the door

March 18: Chaminade Julienne Fish Fry

505 S. Ludlow St., Dayton

937-461-3740, 6-11 p.m., $22 in advance, $27 at the door

March 31: Church of the Transfiguration

972 S. Miami St., West Milton

937-698-4520, 6-9 p.m., $15, $8 children 4-12, free for children 3 and younger

April 14: Eintracht Singing Society Fish Fry Friday

2707 Troy St., Dayton

https://daytoneintracht.org, 6-8 p.m., $15

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