Friday, February 27, 2015

Fish Fry-Days: Epiphany of Our Lord

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge The line at the Epiphany of Our Lord fish fry. | Cheryl Baehr
  • The line at the Epiphany of Our Lord fish fry. | Cheryl Baehr

As the revelry of Mardi Gras gives way to the solemn season of Lent, seafood-loving St. Louisans can rejoice: It's fish fry season. This year, we're checking out some of the area's Catholic churches to see what's cooking.

Epiphany of Our Lord: The "Best Kept Secret in Southwest City"

Monica Hunyar wears a pin of three gilded fish on her apron. "It was a gift from one of the old-timers," she explains. "His wife used to be really involved with fish fry, and when she passed, he gave it to me."

Hunyar's story pretty much sums up the tradition-steeped Epiphany of Our Lord (6596 Smiley Avenue; 314-781-1199) fish fry. For more than 50 years (Hunyar can't exactly recall, but she's certain it's been that long), the Clifton Heights parish has honored this Lenten tradition with a massive feast every Ash Wednesday and Friday during Lent, except Good Friday.

See also: 5 St. Louis Restaurants to Celebrate Lent

It's a three-day undertaking: Parishioners begin prepping the food the Wednesday before the Friday fry, making homemade sides and desserts to accompany the seafood extravaganza. "We call ourselves the best-kept secret in Southwest city," Henyar proudly states. Judging from the packed gymnasium, the cat(fish) is out of the bag.

click to enlarge An admiral's feast at Epiphany of Our Lord. | Cheryl Baehr
  • An admiral's feast at Epiphany of Our Lord. | Cheryl Baehr

The Food: In addition to the traditional fried cod, Epiphany serves cornmeal-crusted catfish, fried jack salmon and battered shrimp by the piece. The parishioners are proud of their homemade sides, including creamy mac & cheese (the highlight of the feast) and vinegary coleslaw. This fish fry is a bargain. A couple can eat for under ten bucks.

The Scene: Epiphany's fish fry is packed, with a line usually wrapping around the gymnasium. It's a welcoming crowd -- we wonder if this is because of the generous wine pours handed out for a mere $2.

Insider Tip: The catfish and mac & cheese are must-trys. Be sure to grab a piece of the gooey-butter-topped chocolate cake if you see it on the dessert line, and don't forget to buy your wine tickets when you pay for your food.

Follow Cheryl Baehr on Twitter at @CherylABaehr. E-mail the author at Cheryl.Baehr@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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