What makes a classic fish fry? Well, that depends who you ask. For us, it’s about a great old-school atmosphere, delicious fish and friends to share it with.
Here are five to try on this Good Friday eve.
1. Serb Hall
5101 W. Oklahoma Ave., (414) 545-6030
One of the biggest classic Good Friday fish fries takes place at Serb Hall, where it’s predicted they’ll serve 3,000 pounds of fish alongside 2,000 pounds of French fries, 900 pounds of cole slaw and 40 gallons of tartar sauce.
On Friday they’ll be serving up Serbian baked cod, deep fried cod, breaded baked cod, ocean perch, haddock, or shrimp served with family style coleslaw, tartar sauce, mashed or french fried potatoes, bread and butter. Order it up between 11:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. Dine in or grab your fish at the drive-thru or walk-up window. Either way, be prepared for the line.
S79W15851 Aud Mar Dr., Muskego (414) 377-9449
Alright. So, this spot might not have the years notched in its belt that other places do. But, it’s a worthy contender for your Good Friday fish fry. Consider Bass Bay a "new" classic. The highlight of their fish fry is the hand-breaded Atlantic cod, which is some of the crispiest you’ll find (it even holds up to reheating!). It’s served with tartar sauce, French fries and marbled rye with Wisconsin butter and house made cole slaw. There’s also rye bread crusted walleye, poor man’s lobster served with drawn butter and lemon or crab-crusted cod oscar if you’re feeling a bit fancy. You would be wise to order up a bowl of their clam chowder to start.
3. Kegel's Inn
5901 W. National Ave., (414) 257-9999
There are few more classic spots to get your fish fry on than Kegel’s. The line is long, but the folks are cheerful at this classic corner tavern with a German beer hall feel. Enjoy the company of your dining companions and order up a classic old fashioned or mug of German beer while you wait for your table. Then order up the classic fish fry with four pieces of lightly breaded cod with rye bread, cole slaw and potato pancakes with applesauce. There’s also lake perch, walleye bluegill or baked cod, if you prefer.
900 E. Layton Ave., (414) 483-5054
What’s more classic than the supper clubby feel of The Packing House? Gather up a few of your closest friends and head south for a great classic brandy old fashioned and a good old fish fry. Theirs features hand-breaded Icelandic cod, French fries, cole slaw, rye bread and house-made tartar sauce. If you’d prefer to enjoy your fish at home, there is drive-through service from 3 to 9 p.m.; just don’t forget, it’s cash only!
1009 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 226-2728
Embrace Milwaukee’s German heritage at the Old German Beer Hall, a venue modeled after Munich’s legendary Hofbräuhaus, the most famous beer hall in the world. On Fridays, you’ll find plenty of gemütlichkeit, along with plates filled with a half-pound Hofbrau beer-battered cod, served up alongside fries, bread and coleslaw. Wash it all down with a liter of Hofbrau, brewed in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot of 1516, which limits the ingredients in the beer to water, barley and hops.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.