Twin Cities fish fries and the power of prayer

Pictured left to right are Sid Korpi, Anthony Kaczor, Larry & Patti Rogacki and Harry Brady. Photo taken on Good Friday, 2012 at Our Lady of Guadalupe on St Paul's West Side.

Do you believe in the power of prayer?

I have always been skeptical, but an experience I had yesterday has made me reconsider.

I was sitting around thinking about the fact that my weekly deadline for my column was only 24 hours away, and I didn't have anything to write about. 

This reminds me of my Jewish agnostic mother, who spent most of her teaching career at Catholic colleges. Her students would sometimes write "VMPFM" ("Virgin Mary pray for me")  at the top of their exam papers, and she would point out to them that if they had spent a little time studying, they wouldn't have to pray for divine help.

I can't say I was actually praying for divine intercession, but I was at least hoping something would come along to get me out of this fix. 

And then, it happened. An e-mail from Anthony Kaczor, with the subject line, "Come Join Our Fish Fry Group." 

Coincidence? I'm not so sure. Consider that each of these fish fries takes place at a house of worship. (There is a lively online discussion over whether the plural of "fish fry" is "fish frys" or "fish fries." The consensus seems to be "fish fries.")

At any rate, I called Anthony as soon as I got his e-mail, and he said it was okay to share it with everybody. If you have been to any of these fish fries, or know of any that Anthony missed, please contribute your wisdom and/or experience as a comment. (If you are not looking for a meatless meal, consider supporting one of the fine establishments that participated in the Twin Cities Daily Planet's recent Sausage Fest fundraiser at the Summit Brewing Co.: The Butcher and the Boar, Clancey's Meats, Corner Table, Kramarczuk's Sausage Co., the Modern Cafe, Nate's Dogs, the Sample Room, Three Sons Meat Co.—website coming soon—and the Seward Co-op.)

"Hi Jeremy," Anthony wrote...

I'm inviting you to join our Fish Fry Days of Lent Gang on any of the following list of fries (see the tentative schedule below). Our group meets at a different fish fry every Friday during the Lenten season. We've been doing this for a number of years and have crossed paths with others who do the same thing and we started a gang!

My wife Sid Korpi (whom you know from way back) and I have been nicknamed "The Lenten Lunatic" and his "Fish Wife." We can tell you fun stories of who has the best desserts, best fish, best hosts, funniest priest. Some Fries will have "other than fish" like mac & cheese and meatless spaghetti; a Lebanese church has baked eggplant along with hummos and tabouli, and we always finish at a Latino Church for bean & cheese enchiladas!

One Lutheran church has both fish and Swedish meatballs with a mustard sauce (they call it gravy). Another has beer and wine included (for the adults) and gives you a pint while you wait in line! (Others have beer available as well). One has a fantastic salad bar and shrimp available (not all you can eat  though!) A nice local reference to check out is in the Catholic Spirit newspaper - http://thecatholicspirit.com/nomeat.

Come and join us at what I nicknamed a "bonus" fish fry this Friday at St Timothy in Blaine. Most church fish fries (like St Tim's) DO NOT have a fry on Good Friday; thus St Tim's decided to get a jump on it this year so we're starting early as well. Also Holy Cross in NE Minneapolis always has a "Fat" or Shrove Tuesday Sauerkraut Supper on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (Tuesday the 12th this year). It's a hoot with the Coronation of the Cabbage King and Kapusta Queen during the DyVersaCo Band break. (Nordeast Minneapolis well known for polka bands at events). The sauerkraut dinner, served from 4 to 7 p.m., is a bit pricey, I think, at $13.00. My wife doesn't care for sauerkraut so we just go for the dance in the lower level which is FREE 4-8pm.

Our Fish Fry Gang usually ends up playing Pictionary games on the paper placemats and closing most of the fish fries! So we usually get to know people hosting pretty well as they are always happy when we show up with a dozen or more of us. This year one member has befriended a retired priest who is now going to join us at St Albert's on the 15th. (St Albert's is where in the past they had a special table for local priests who brought their own wine!)

So try and join us this Friday at St Tim's and get yourself a leg up on the Lenten fish fries. St. Tim's has had both baked & fried fish and a nice salad bar in the past.Most fish fries are from 4 to 7PM.

We usually meet at 5:00 or 5:30.

Here's our tentative fish fry schedule: 

Friday, Feb. 8, 5:30 p.m. St. Tim’s Church 707 89th Ave. NE Blaine, 55434. (Followed by dancing at 8 p.m. to the ’60s band, The Wax-Tones, at the Minneapolis Eagles Club, 2507 E. 25th St., Minneapolis MN 55406—$6 cover).

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 5:30 p.m. Fat Tuesday Sauerkraut Supper and Polka Band at Holy Cross Church, 1621 University Ave. NE Minneapolis 55413, enter on 4th Street.

Friday, Feb. 15, 5:30 p.m. St. Albert the Great Church, 2836 33rd Ave. S., Minneapolis 55406.

Friday, Feb. 22, 5:30 p.m. St. Pascal’s Church, 1757 Conway St., St. Paul 55106
(Followed by the Wax-Tones at Arcade-Phalen American Legion, time TBA).

Friday, March 1, St. Peder’s Evangelical Church, 4600 E. 42nd St., Minneapolis 55406. Your choice of fish or Swedish meatballs. (YOU MUST RESERVE SEATS FOR EITHER 5 P.M. OR 6:30 P.M. SERVING TIME. Call 612-722-8000 OR http://www.stpeders.org/contact-us/contact-form.)We're planning on the 5PM meal so we can go to the Family Sock Hop at SW High School 3414 W 47th Street south Minneapolis 7-9PM $5.00 per family (Bring a food shelf donation).

Friday, March 8, 5:30 p.m., Holy Family Maronite Church, 1960 Lexington Ave. S., Mendota Heights, MN 55118.

Friday, March 15, 5:30 p.m. Our Lady of Peace Church, 5435 11th Ave.S. Minneapolis, 55417.

Friday, March 22, 5:30 p.m. St. Bonaventure Church, 901 E 90th St., Bloomington 55420.

Friday, March 29, 5:30 p.m., Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 401 Concord St., St. Paul 55107.

  • I wonder if any of these places have considered frying up some batter coated lutefisk. - by Stephanie Fox on Tue, 02/05/2013 - 11:23pm
  • This is one of the best (the best?) Catholic-centric ideas I've heard since Vatican II! I am so going to try to make it to them! - by Betsy Gabler on Wed, 02/06/2013 - 11:38pm

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Jeremy Iggers's picture
Jeremy Iggers

Jeremy Iggers (jeremy [at] tcmediaalliance [dot] org) is the executive director of the Twin Cities Media Alliance. Find Jeremy on Google