Fish Fries and Lenten Buffets Offer Hearty Portions for Seafood Lovers

By: Karen Dybis | February 26, 2021
Fish Fryday

Photo Courtesy of Nancy Whiskey.

Much like paczki on Fat Tuesday, Metro Detroit often celebrates the Lenten season with a great fish fry or clam chowder. These meals are not only delicious but they offer a fresh approach to dinner with a great slice of cod or salmon, many filling sides and, ideally, a slice of lemon to bring a brightness to all of the ingredients. 

Metro Detroit has many great places to try fish any time of year, but many restaurants offer specials when it comes to Fish Friday fries. Some of them were up in the air because of dining restrictions and changes in restaurant availability due to the coronavirus pandemic. But many have made the shift to carry-out option for former buffets or huge-portioned meals.

So what exactly is a Friday Fish Fry? If you’re from the Midwest, it tends to be a meal that includes family and friends at a local VFW Hall or local Catholic or Christian church. You pay at the door, typically anywhere from $10 to $18 per person (less for kids) and grab a plate full of fried cod, potatoes, coleslaw or corn. Next, you come together at a big folding table to eat and chat over a nice can of pop. At the end, you go to the dessert table and grab a brownie or slice of pie. 

That tradition continues in 2021, but you’re likely to have to grab a plate for home or be patient with how many people can come into a space or restaurant. For example, at Detroit’s legendary Scotty Simpson’s Fish and Chips, you’ll have carryout and curbside pickup rather than a sit-down meal, according to the restaurant. Its menu remains the same – classic baked or fried fish, a great baked potato or fries as well as its signature tangy tartar sauce. 

For example, Nancy Whiskey in Detroit had pondered postponing its annual fish fry tradition for 2021, but it is back on, the restaurant said. Nancy’s will offer the regular kitchen menu and Taco Tuesday as normal along with its Friday Fish Fry for those interested. It features fresh fish, French fries and coleslaw. It is available in house as space allows or you can take it for carryout to enjoy at home from the hours of noon to 7 p.m., officials said. 

Redcoat Tavern

Royal Oak residents swear by this restaurant and pretty much everyone else in Metro Detroit knows it for its hamburgers and onion rings. But it also makes a great clam chowder or fish plate so there are lots of reasons to stop in and see not only its recent renovation but all of the menu choices for fish lovers.


Kruse & Muer

The names are synonymous for great seafood and service. Its fish dinners are legendary for the fresh, tender seafood and great sides. You can find its food across Metro Detroit, including locations in Rochester, Rochester Hills, Clarkston and Royal Oak. 

St. Germaine Catholic School

Our Lady of Hope Men’s Club Fish Fry is a local favorite. This year, it is only available for carryout and no substitutions are being allowed. It offers fried or baked fish, a mac and cheese dinner or a shrimp plate. Make sure you try the roasted potatoes and the coleslaw for the complete experience. 

St. Ambrose

Grosse Pointe Park’s beloved St. Ambrose always has an upscale Lenten buffet but this historic church had to pivot for 2021. You can fill out an order online and then pick it up for a meal at home. The meal includes two pieces of fish, tater tots, mac and cheese, a vegetable, a roll and butter for the hungry folks among you.