St. Matthew’s in St. Paul has been serving fish on Lenten Fridays for years. And a little bit of digging in ecclesiastical history finds St. Matt’s as one of the original daughter churches of the oldest church in St. Paul (Assumption), and one that predates the elevation of the diocese of St. Paul to an archdiocese by two years. With a short trip south of downtown St. Paul, you can see why they’ve been bringing in and returning happy guests. A sign on Hall Avenue sends you nearly to the door, where the courtyard captures the scent of fried goodness coming from the Social Hall.
St. Matthew’s features an all-you-can-eat banquet. And although you can serve yourself a heaping bowl of cole slaw, roll and butter from the central service table, your fish, fresh crisp green beans, and baked potato is brought to you at your table, not cafeteria-style handout. Baked or fried, it’s all good. (3 fish)
As the only fish fry Fish Daddy visited with plated service, St. Matt’s volunteers were on top of all the comings and goings at the tables, asking customers for baked or fried fish (rumor had it there was a non-fish option, but after the heavenly courtyard aroma, it wasn’t in the cards). Once served, you could avail yourself of water coffee, or milk, or for a small amount, a glass of beer or wine at the bar. Small frys were about, clearing plates and tables, and a server wasn’t far away, returning with seconds for those who requested it. And while our tablemates had the inside scoop on an alternate dessert, a refreshing cup of vanilla ice cream was a unique and tasty finish to the meal. (4 fish)
Fishers of People
St. Matthew’s pastor, Fr. James Adams, was visiting with parishioners and guests at every table. Not only did our tablemates strike up a conversation about St. Matt’s, Fr. James encouraged us to return for Holy Week services as well. Their website (don’t forget the hyphen) was a tad out of date, but it didn’t take long to find the bulletin, and discover that St. Matthew’s is a clustered parish with nearby Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Michael. Holy Week events cross all three locations, with Fr. Adams and Fr. Brinkman serving the faithful. (2 fish)
$11 per person, 65+, $10, 5-12, $6, under 5 free. And they are also serving on Good Friday. But there’s more to value when your sister parish is right down the road, and plattering endless enchiladas with rice and beans. And Fish Daddy had a hungry halibut at home. Shall we begin again? (3 fish)
Our Lady of Guadalupe
If you’re looking for conventional, leave your fish breath and baked potato at the door. Our Lady of Guadalupe feasts on an enchilada dinner on Lenten Fridays, and from the looks of the social hall, they have a dedicated following.
Nope. Enchilada Dinner!
Our Lady of Guadalupe serves Lenten enchilada dinner every Friday in Lent, including Good Friday. Whether you’re choosing the large dinner three cheese and onion enchiladas with rice, beans, drink and dessert, or the small one-enchilada offering, you’ll find a full plate of zesty goodness. (3 enchiladas)
Although I didn’t opt for a second seated meal, An OLG volunteer quickly served my takeout meal with a smile. I peeked in the kitchen before leaving, and saw a small cadre of cooks and an enormous tray of steaming enchiladas ready to be served. Feeding a hungry crew? You can take out a dozen for $20. (3 enchiladas)
Fishers of People
You won’t go far at OLG without seeing a statue or picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, from the fervent rosary in progress at the OLG altar, to the social hall, to the parish office hallways. They offer bilingual Masses, as well as faith formation. (3 enchiladas)
Margaritas con mis enchiladas? Es posible? Si. And if there hadn’t been three austere Lenten crosses gracing the parquet middle of the social hall, you can be sure there would have been dancing, too. (3 enchiladas) Large dinner (3 enchiladas, rice, beans, and dessert) $10; Small (1 enchilada, rice, beans, and dessert) $6. And they take credit cards ! (4 enchiladas)
St. Matthew’s 490 Hall Ave., St. Paul 952-835-7101. st-matts.org
Our Lady of Guadalupe 401 Concord St., St. Paul 651-228-0506 olgspchurch.com
St. Michael’s 331 Hurley St. E, West St. Paul 651-457-2334 stmichaelwsp.org
If you’ve enjoyed the Lenten Fish Fry reviews be sure to like Catholic Hotdish on Facebook. And advertise your fish fry event in the Catholic Spirit in 2017. Have a Spirit-filled Holy Week and a Blessed Easter!
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