By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Mar 26, 2021 at 1:01 PM

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There are just two more fish fry Fridays left before Easter, so you’d might as well do it up right. And why not support one of our great local bars in the process?

What follows is a list of 10 bars that do an exceptional job with their fish fries. Quite a few offer housemade potato pancakes, and most also serve up a pretty good Wisconsin style old fashioned. You’ll find battered cod (or pollock or haddock) at all of these spots, with a number offering other fish and seafood options as well. 

A word on lake perch

For those of you who love fried yellow lake perch (as I do), it’s worthwhile to note that very few restaurants are actually serving lake perch these days. That’s thanks to a severe  perch shortage in the Great Lakes, which has driven up costs significantly (last year, lake perch cost more per pound than Scottish salmon). 

When you do  encounter perch on a restaurant menu, it’s likely to be the cheaper “Euro” perch imported from Eastern Europe, ocean perch or zander. The fish is easily discernible from lake perch (it tends to be larger and often thicker with a milder, less distinctive flavor).  If you’d still like to order lake fish, rather than cod, look for spots that offer walleye or bluegill.

That said, here are ten great spots (listed in alphabetical order) to get your Friday fish fry fix.

1. Belly Up Bar

N88W18384 Christman Rd., Menomonee Falls, (262) 255-2653
Carry-out available

Belly Up fish fryX

Take in the local townie-bar vibe at this bar just off of Main Street. Enjoy beer battered or breaded cod, breaded perch, breaded shrimp, scallops or a seafood platter featuring either cod or perch with shrimp and scallops. Each is served with your choice of potato (Becky's famous German potato salad, potato pancakes or french fries), rye bread and coleslaw. Our advice: get the German potato salad. Note: Belly Up is cash only.
[Read the Thank Cod It's Fryday review]

2. Camino West Allis

7211 W. Greenfield, West Allis (414) 810-4838

Carry-out available

Camino fish fryX

Camino's second location is serving up daily specials, including their special wet-battered fried cod served with coleslaw, rye bread and cajun remoulade. The batter on the fried cod, which is derived from an old family recipe, is light, flaky and crisp and the cod beneath is moist and flavorful. Even the coleslaw, which offers a tiny bit of kick, is worthwhile. Wash it all down with something from Camino’s thoughtfully curated craft beer list.

3. Lone Star Tavern

W204 N11912 Goldendale Rd., Germantown, (262) 628-1484

Carry-out available

Lone Star Tavern Fish FryX

It's off the beaten path, but this Germantown tavern does Fridays right. Lone Star offers a Friday night fish fry featuring your choice of perch, haddock, baked cod, breaded cod or the Fritz Special, featuring perch, shrimp and cod served alongside drawn butter and cocktail sauce for dipping. Meals are accompanied by your choice of potato (fries, German potato salad or potato pancakes), buttered bread and vinegar-based coleslaw. Junior portions are also available; just ask your server.
[Read our Thank Cod It's Fryday review

4. Paulie's Pub & Eatery

8031 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, (414) 257-2854

Carry-out available

Paulie's Pub fish fryX

Paulie's offers Fat Tire beer-battered cod loin, baked or breaded cod and deep fried perch. Each comes with a choice of potato (french fries, house parmesan ranch chips, buttered red potatoes or potato pancakes), creamy coleslaw, marble rye, lemon and tartar sauce.
[Read the Thank Cod It's Fryday review]

5.  Slick Willies

2301 12th Ave., South Milwaukee, (414) 762-1974

Carry-out available

Slick Willies fish fryX

Slick Willies serves beer battered cod, breaded shrimp, beer battered walleye or a sampler platter with cod, walleye and shrimp. Sides include coleslaw, tartar sauce, buttered marble rye and guests' choice of fries or potato pancakes. Also included are soup (clam chowder) and salad.
[Read the Thank Cod It's Fryday review]

6. State Fair Inn

8101 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, (414) 778-0760

Carry-out available

State Fair Inn fish fryX

On the Friday menu at State Fair Inn you'll find baked or beer battered cod, deep-fried or pan-fried perch, pan-fried tilapia or walleye almondine served with soup, salad and a choice of potato (french fries, mashed potatoes or baked potato) or onion rings. 
[Read the Thank Cod It's Fryday review]

7. Steny's Tavern & Grill

800 S. 2nd St., (414) 672-7139

Carry-out available

Steny's Tavern fish fryX

At Steny's Friday is the night for beer battered cod, seasoned baked cod, deep-fried or pan-fried perch or breaded shrimp. Each dinner is served with coleslaw, rye bread and your choice of side.
[Read the Thank Cod It's Fryday review]

8. The Stillery

W204 N14025 W. Fond Du Lac Ave., Richfield, (262) 674-2033

Carry-out available

The Stillery fish fryX

The Stillery’s fish fry includes baked or lightly Hofbrau Original beer battered cod served with cole slaw, tartar sauce, lemon, a salted rye bread stick and the guest's choice of Stillery fries or potato pancakes. You can also order  up a cod sandwich, shrimp dinner or cod tacos.
[Read the Thank Cod It's Fryday review]

9. Thistle & Shamrock

3430 N 84th St., (414) 871-3977

Carry-out available

Thistle and Shamrock fish fryX

This West Side Irish pub makes a mean corned beef. But, when it comes to fish fry, it's got its game on. Customers have the choice of over 20 types of fish, including pollock, swai catfish, wild caught cod loin, haddock, smelt, shrimp or northern pike. The fish, which is cooked to order, is lightly hand-breaded and fried (or baked) and served with rye bread, coleslaw and a choice of fries, thistle chips, baked potato or housemade potato pancakes (served with apple sauce or maple syrup).
[Read the Thank Cod It's Fryday review]

10. Von Trier

2235 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 272-1775

Carry-out available

Von Trier fish fryX

This classic East Side beer hall is a great spot for German brews. But on Friday night you'll also find Haufbrau Haus Friesing Jagerbier battered cod with coleslaw, rye bread, tartar sauce, lemon and a choice of potato pancakes, fries or house chips. There's also paprika baked cod available with all the fixins.
[Read the Thank Cod It's Fryday review]

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.