Frank Weaver wades into the waters of Lenten fish fries to find the best in the area.
For the past eight years or so, I've been running columns on what I believe to be the best of the best when it comes to local Lenten fish fries. Let's face it, during Lent almost all of us love these Friday dinners with family and friends when we're willing to pay some church or social club to cook our evening meal.
Usually, the wife and I eat fish dinners on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year. If I'm preoccupied, I'll have someone I can trust check one out, eat one and then report back to me. One week, I focus on the noncommercial, nonprofit field. In other words, the fish fries that are usually worked by volunteers and the proceeds used as fundraisers. I then write a column endorsing the top five or six spots. And each time, I receive comments about how prejudiced I am.
The next week, I do the same with commercial spots, such as local restaurants where I have enjoyed fish meals during the past year. And then I select the best five or six spots in that field, with the same vociferous response.
Over the years I've been accused of everything from secretly owning the top selections to being paid off for my selection. Nothing could be further from the truth. Neither my wife nor I own or are part owners in any restaurants, bars, eating establishments, churches or social clubs. Besides, this family's church never has been included, and the clubs we patronize don't serve fish fries.
To do otherwise would be dishonest, which would seriously compromise the integrity of this column. And with my name at the top, I will not allow that to happen. At any rate, this year I've decided to do the Lenten fish fry columns differently. This year, you can vote for your favorite. Here's how it will work.
First: If the restaurants, social organizations and churches that serve Lenten fish fries wish to be included, a reader may nominate them by emailing me. If a reader nominates a certain commercial establishment, they must be sure they have their permission. The establishments also may email me saying they wish to be nominated.
Second: You must include your full name, what section of the lakes you are from and your phone number. Also, the name of the establishment you are promoting, its location, what kind of fish it features, whether or not it's family-friendly, whether it has carryout and a brief sentence or two about why you think it should be included. Please do not include prices.
Third: Only one nomination and vote per person. Your nomination also counts as one vote. Any violation negates that person's nominations and vote.
Fourth: Send your nomination to: Frankweaverjr@aol.com .
Fifth: To nominate or vote, you must live in the Suburbanite delivery area and must be 18 years old.
Sixth: In the subject line of your email, please write in: Fish Fry — and then your selection.
Seventh: All nominations and votes must be received by midnight Feb. 14.
You may include any eating establishment, social club or church in Summit or Stark counties that holds weekly fish fries, and you may include chain restaurants. You also may promote your choice by asking others to vote for your selection.
There's one vote per person, per email address, please. The only exception will be if a wife or husband wishes to vote and they only have one email address, the remaining spouse may use it as long as he or she notes the circumstances in the body of the message.
Any nominated establishment without a sender's name and/or where the writer originates will not be counted. Over the years, many of you have asked for more eating establishments to be included. Well now, here is your chance to include them.
Two weeks before Lent I will devote a column on the commercial nominations. The following week, I'll be focusing on the nonprofit eateries.
One last word. I understand your enthusiasm and partiality to certain fish fry establishments, but please don't allow your enthusiasm to bend or break the rules. Follow the rules and for the sake of everyone, and please be fair. Any questions, feel free to email me. With that I wish you the best of luck.
Comments may be emailed to: Frankweaverjr@aol.com