Friday Fish Fry

Where’s a good place for supper?

If you ask the above question in a small Wisconsin town don’t be surprised if the final word of the answer is “Tavern” or “Bar”.

The year round Friday night fish fry is a tradition in the region. During Lent the number of options increase, but on any given Friday you can satisfy that nagging desire for hot fish fillets. I never gave it much thought. It was just part of life. And it wasn’t confined to small towns. The summer I worked in Milwaukee, decades ago, our office over a corner bar was filled with the mouth-watering scent on Friday afternoon of beer batter, hot oil, and fresh fish.

Step into a small town tavern with me. Bring the children. We can order any of the usual beverages. Some, true to that German heritage that has seeped into the fabric of the region will include alcohol. But other choices will be available. Now since it’s Friday we’ll have the special. Two fish fillets served piping hot and coated with beer batter. (Each establishment has a variation on the recipe.) Sides of slender french fries and small cups of coleslaw fill out the meal. Some places add a thick slice of hot, buttered toast. Others offer baked beans.

So if you visit a small town on Friday, ask around for the fish fry. Delicious comes in unexpected places.