Organizers of the fish fry at St. Alphonsus say they serve up to 800 people on a lenten Friday.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - During Fridays in Lent, many Christians avoid eating meat by dining at a fish fry.
And out of the dozens of churches and clubs offering meatless meals, many parishioners say St. Alphonsus in Grand Rapids has the best fish fry.
"It's the only one that's got walleye in town," says diner Joe Maksynowski.
I have friends that come all the way in from Muskegon," says diner Mia Nowak. "People wait all year for this."
When they started their fish fry 27 years ago, parishioners say St. Alphonsus served pollock. About 10 years ago they decided to upgrade.
"I think we just decided to try something different," says volunteer Linda Kozminski. "No other parish was serving walleye."
"This is a better quality fish, just a better fish overall," says parishioner Lisa Licari. "It's the best fish fry in Grand Rapids."
Volunteers serve the fish, baked and fried, from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Fridays.
"The line starts forming at three o'clock," says volunteer John Frey. "We serve between 700 and 800 meals."
"And it's not just Catholics," adds diner Rosie Koryto. "We've stood in line with Methodists," she says with a laugh.
"We are not Catholics," admits diner Dale Vantatenhove. "We've been coming here for five years. It's definitely the walleye."
"We accept them all," says Kozminski. "Everybody is our brother and sister."
"Bringing people together from all walks of life is our mission," says Father Pat Grile. "That's what I think the Lord wants us to be."
West Michigan offers at least 50 other fish frys during Lent, which you can find on our website.