The tradition of giving up meat and turning to vegetable and fish dishes every Friday during Lent goes back to ancient times. It is a form of temporary abstinence observed in the days leading up to Easter by the members of the Catholic Church—Catholics abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent. And, traditionally, fish (which is not considered meat) was served on those days instead.
You don't have to be Catholic to enjoy the fish fries, a Northeast Ohio Lenten tradition, you'll find in many restaurants, taverns, and pubs in the weeks before Easter. While the delicious fish dinners have their roots in the Catholic immigrant communities of Ohio, the popularity of these Friday meals is wide-spread. On Fridays during Lent, you'll find fish fries in neighborhood eateries, community centers, and churches.
Restaurants and Pubs
Restaurants, pubs, and taverns in the Cleveland area offer seafood, from fried cod to lobster, on their Friday menus during Lent.
- Sokolowski's University Inn: Established in 1923, Sokolowski’s University Inn is Cleveland’s oldest family-owned and operated restaurant. This James Beard award-winning restaurant is a Polish institution featuring traditional Polish dishes. During Lent, their Friday specials include beer-battered cod and yellow lake perch.
- The Academy Tavern: Since 1939, The Academy Tavern has been serving up traditional pub food. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during Lent you'll be able to dine on perch, walleye, pike, and catfish, all served with creamy cole slaw.
- The Prosperity Social Club: A well-regarded neighborhood bar, The Prosperity Social Club offers choices like their hearty fried haddock and house-made cheddar mac and cheese, a crunchy fish sandwich, or breaded pike and fresh-cut fries for lunch and dinner on Fridays during Lent. Also, try their fantastic homemade pierogi (filled dumplings).
- Around the Corner - This Lakewood gathering place, known for their fish fries and succulent wings, offers a fish fry every Friday during Lent with your choice of perch, cod, or catfish—all come with pierogi.
- Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse - With locations in Akron, Westlake, Beachwood, and Downtown Cleveland, this steakhouse changes things up during Lent by offering Friday fish and seafood specials, including live Maine lobster tail and fresh wild Alaskan salmon.
- Lake House Restaurant - Enjoy a Lake Erie view with your fish dinner during Lent. All-you-can-eat fish fries are held on Wednesdays and Fridays. This Lenten meal includes fried tilapia served with French fries and coleslaw for $9.99.
- Cleats Club Seat and Grille, with locations throughout Northeast Ohio, has a sports bar atmosphere for your all-you-can-eat fish fry special on Fridays. Try their homemade Snickers ice cream pie for dessert.
- Marta’s European Restaurant: Marta's on Euclid, offers a Friday meal featuring pollock (walleye) fish. The traditional meal includes soup or salad, coleslaw with a choice of fries, potato pancake, or mashed potatoes.
- Euclid Tavern: Also on Euclid street, this tavern offers a fish fry every Friday during Lent.
- Flat Iron Café: This Irish pub has been serving Cleveland for over 100 years. For Lent, try their Lake Erie yellow perch dinner.
- Rocky River Brewing Company: Every Friday during Lent you can have a craft beer with your fried cod, golden fries, and creamy coleslaw at this huge Cleveland brewpub.
- Normandy Party Center: Located in Wickliffe, the events center hosts a fish fry on selected dates which includes salad, rolls and butter, dessert, and soda.
- The Cabin of Willowick: Located on Lakeshore Blvd in Willowick, The Cabin is a steakhouse in a log cabin building usually featuring aged steaks. During Lent, they offer a Friday fish fry and sauteed walleye dinners.
- Yours Truly Restaurant: At all eight restaurants (Beachwood, Chagrin Falls, Hudson, Mayfield Village, Medina, Mentor, Rockside Road, and Shaker Square) enjoy a fish special every Friday throughout Lent. They serve up lightly-battered cod with coleslaw and fries or redskin potatoes and a fish sandwich with fries and tartar sauce.
Churches and Community Centers
Enjoy a fish fry with the locals at one of these economical neighborhood fish fries. The listing includes information on past events and it is recommended that you contact the church or community center to see what they are serving up this year for Lent and which dates the dinners are being held.
- Parma Elks Lodge 1938: 2250 Snow Rd., Parma; 216 749-1919. On Fridays through Lent, the lodge members serve walleye, shrimp, baked scrod, and perch.
- St. Charles Borromeo Church: 5891 Ridge Rd., Parma, 216 319-6601. Look for a fish fry each Friday through Lent with special senior and kids meals available.
- St. James Church: 17514 Detroit Ave., Lakewood; 216 226-1365. They offer a fish fry every Friday with dinner choices including fried perch, baked cod, shrimp and perogies. The sides include steak fries, mac-n-cheese, applesauce, and coleslaw.
- Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral: 3352 Mayfield Rd., Cleveland Heights.; 216 932-3300. The church offers a fish fry each Friday through Lent.
- American Legion Post 421: 22001 Brookpark Rd., Fairview Park; 440 734-1020. On Ash Wednesday and Fridays through Lent, the Post serves perch, cod, shrimp, pierogi, and coleslaw.
- St. Joseph Catholic Church: 3330 Lake Ave., Ashtabula; 440 992-0330. The church serves fried fish, baked fish, and shrimp dinners on Fridays through Lent.
- St. John Vianney Catholic Church: 7575 Bellflower Rd, Mentor; 440 255-0600. Look for Alaskan pollock dinners with sides and dessert, as well as hot dogs and chicken fingers for the kids served Fridays through Lent.
- Harpersfield Township Community Center: Cork Cold Springs Rd, just west of Route 534 in Harpersfield Township (south of Geneva). The community center hosts a dinner with breaded fish, shrimp, chicken or a combo plate with sides and dessert on selected Fridays.
- Church of the Holy Angels: 18205 Chillicothe Rd. (Route 306), Bainbridge; 216 731-4003. On Fridays through Lent, they serve your choice of perch, cod, tilapia, stuffed pasta shells, or pierogi.
- Irish American Club: 22770 Lake Shore Blvd., Euclid. On Fridays during Lent, the club serves perch, cod, shrimp with sides and dessert—clam chowder is also usually available.
- St. Monica Church: 13623 Rockside Rd., Garfield Heights; 216 662-8685. Fridays until through Lent the church serves cod, baked salmon, or shrimp with sides and dessert.
- St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Church: 5913 State Rd., Parma; 440 885-0468. On Fridays through Lent they serve perch, cod or pierogi with potato pancakes, clam chowder, and fries plus dessert.
- St Joseph Catholic Church: 12700 Pearl Rd., Strongsville; 440 238-5555. On selected dates, the church dinner includes breaded and baked fish, clam chowder, pierogi, pizza, and mac and cheese.
- St. Michael Catholic Church: 6540 Brecksville Rd, Independence; 216 702 5024. Fridays through Lent the church serves baked or fried fish, shrimp and pierogi with a side and dessert.
- St. Gabriel Church: 9925 Johnnycake Ridge Rd., Concord Township; 440 352-8282. On Fridays through Lent there is a scheduled fish fry.
- Dr. Martin Luther Evangelical Lutheran Church: 4470 Ridge Rd., Brooklyn; 216 749-5585. On Fridays through Lent, the dinner offered includes walleye, cod, shrimp, pierogi or cabbage and noodles.
- St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church: 435 SOM Center Rd., Mayfield; 440 449-2290; On Fridays through Lent they serve fried fish, salmon, and shrimp dinners.
- Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church: 4423 Pearl Rd., Cleveland; 216 749-2323. Fried and baked fish with pierogi and choice of a side are offered Fridays through Lent.
- St. Albert the Great Church: 6667 Wallings Rd., North Royalton; 440 237-6760. Dine on beer-battered cod or perch with sides and a beverage on Lent Fridays.
- Jennings Center for Older Adults: 10204 Granger Rd., Garfield Heights; 216 581-2900. They serve beer-battered pollack, baked lemon pepper cod with sides and dessert on Fridays through Lent.
- Tadmor Shrine Center: 3000 Krebs Dr., Akron; 330 644-8494; The Shriners off an all-you-can-eat pollock or single serving shrimp or chicken with sides and beverage on selected Fridays.
- St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church: 7700 Hoertz Rd., Parma; 440 843-9149. Dinners include baked and fried fish, shrimp, and pierogi with sides and dessert on Fridays through Lent.
- St. Francis de Sales Church: 3434 George Ave., Parma; 440 884-2319. Enjoy fish with pierogi, cabbage and noodles, and other sides plus beverage and roll on Fridays through Lent.
- St. John Bosco Church: 6480 Pearl Rd., Parma Heights. Every Friday during Lent the fish fry includes breaded Alaskan pollack, homemade perogies, choice of a side dish, coleslaw, roll and butter, homemade dessert and beverage.
- Our Lady of Angels Church: 3644 Rocky River Dr., Cleveland; 216-252-2332. Every Friday throughout Lent they serve cod and shrimp dinners— pierogi and cabbage and noodles are also available.
- St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral: 5720 State Road, Parma; 440 886-2108. They serve salmon, baked and fried cod, or shrimp with choice of side and dessert on Fridays through Lent.
- St. Noel Church: 35200 Chardon Rd., Willoughby Hills; 440 946-6635. All-you-can-eat baked cod or fried pollack dinners with a side and dessert are available Fridays through Lent.
- Bethany English Lutheran Church: 15460 Triskett Rd., Cleveland; 216 941-7880. Dine on Lake Erie perch with a side on Fridays through Lent.
- St. Justin Martyr Church: 35781 Stevens Blvd., Eastlake; 440 946-1178. All-you-can-eat fish with sides and dessert is served on Fridays through Lent.
- St. Leo the Great Church: 4900 Broadview Rd., Cleveland; 216 661-1006. Dine on baked tilapia, baked cod, fried pollock or shrimp with sides and dessert on Fridays through Lent.