Well folks, the day of reckoning finally is here. The polls are closed, and the ballots have been counted. The challenge to receive the Outtakes' “Golden Hook” award for 2014 has ended. The results of the best Lenten fish fries are about to be revealed.
Well folks, the day of reckoning finally is here. The polls are closed, and the ballots have been counted. The challenge to receive the Outtakes’ “Golden Hook” award for 2014 has ended. The results of the best Lenten fish fries are about to be revealed.
But before revealing the top five, I must say that surprisingly, three of them are newcomers. Nevertheless, they’re the ones you have selected, not me. However, comments from some voters said some of the owners promoted the vote by asking them to write in and vote for them. That’s fine. There was nothing in the rules prohibiting it.
Now, may I have the envelope, please?
The top five in alphabetical order are the Gas Pump Bar & Grill, 2215 E. Waterloo Road in Springfield Township’s Gala Commons. The owner, Tucker Self, wrote, “Located in Springfield Township, I am the owner of the establishment, and I live in The Suburbanite area.” He also indicated, “The fresh fish is very tasty with no fish smell, and it is served in a very family-friendly environment.”
He added, that he serves “all you can eat Friday fish fries for one price.” The fish is a golden ale-battered cod served with a side of french fries and Hartville Kitchen cole slaw.
Self said carryouts are available but are limited to two pieces of fish. According to many who voted, the Gas Pump is a family-friendly establishment featuring a kids menu with a family room available.
The Ido Café, 1537 S. Main St., just north of Waterloo Road, Akron. For a number of years I’ve included this establishment in my Lenten fish fry list for its outstanding halibut, and apparently the voters agree.
The Ido also serves Alaskan pollock, lightly breaded with french fries, hot rice and cole slaw. Carryout is available at the family-friendly establishment, which is owned by Steve Baker.
Closer to Waterloo Road, Kevin O’Bryan’s is south of the Ido. This family friendly establishment, which also features carryout, is at 1761 S. Main St., Akron.
Kevin O’Bryan’s features perch po-boy sliders with arugula, tomato, Creole sauce and Cajun onion straws. It also has “2 pack and 3 pack,” which I presume means your choice of two or three pieces of fish. O’Bryan’s also serves fish and chips, which are pub-style breaded and fried perch fillets. The sides include battered fries and cole slaw.
Those who voted for O’Bryan’s claim the perch is lightly breaded in a well-seasoned flour and then crisply fried. The fish is “very flavorful, like no other,” they wrote.
The Tadmor Shrine Center, 300 Krebs Road, Coventry Township, also was among the top vote getters. This establishment has been included in my lists over the years, and from the crowds it customarily draws, I’m not the least bit surprised that it earned the right to be listed among the top five. It serves delicious fish.
Finally, another newcomer. It is Thano’s Family Restaurant in Barberton. It’s at 71 Fifth St. SE in the Magic City at the site of a former steakhouse chain and in front of a Giant Eagle.
It serves scrod, cod and salmon. On Fridays during Lent, its feature is cod, along with side dishes. As well as a kids menu, it also features carryout but not with the all-you-can-eat feature.
Now before you get all bent out of shape and write protesting that Barberton and the fish fries listed in Akron are not in The Suburbanite’s reading area, I beg to differ. As a writer of this column for 15-plus years, I know for a fact that some readers live north of Waterloo and west of Manchester roads. Besides, staunch patrons of Thano’s live in New Franklin, and they do read The Suburbanite.
One reader voted for Kaufman’s in Hartville. She must have remembered the excellent fish from last year, because it closed shortly after Lent, and as far as I know, the same folks have not reopened. Nevertheless, she wrote that the fish was “so good. It was delicious.”
And she’s right. Each year for the past five it topped my list. I, along with so many others who frequented that huge auditorium run by the Lake Township Christian School and served on the third Friday of each month, already are missing their delicious fish meals. Missing them big time.
Besides eating fish during lent at Kaufman’s, I also have had the fish at the Ido Café and Tadmor Shrine Center, and I must say they also have earned a rightful spot on the list this year.
If Thano’s, Kevin O’Bryan’s and the Gas Pump Bar & Grill are new to you, don’t feel alone. They’re new to the wife and I, too. But not for long.
These establishments do not mean they are the only places that serve Lenten fish in the area. Many others do, too. It’s just that these five were the ones you, the readers, selected, wrote about or said you preferred.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 5, and continues for seven weeks until Good Friday, April 18.
My wife and I will be trying the fish at these establishments over the next few weeks to see if the culinary talents of the cooks are everything the readers say they are.
You should try them, too.
Reach Frank Weaver at Frankweaverjr@aol.com.