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A Fish Fry for the Ages in Greenfield

A Pittsburgh transplant has a run-in with a Lenten fish fry.

This article has been updated since it was originally published in February 2016.

What: Fish Fry
Where: St. Rosalia Parish Lenten Kitchen
When: March 9, 2018

Native ’Burghers, we need to get real for a minute. When I begged my editor to let me go to a fish fry, he told me I could — if I found something novel or funky.

I’m from the D.C. suburbs; to me, all fish fries are novel or funky. Seriously: Growing up, the seemingly simple act of obtaining a nut roll involved braving the wilds of the Capital Beltway or requesting a well-timed care package from family in Scranton.

You have no idea how lucky you are in Pittsburgh.

So rather than pursue an off-the-wall variation, I wanted the truest fish fry experience. My parameters: a church within the city limits, preferably in a historically ethnic neighborhood. I prioritized pierogi and haluski over the fish; while fish is expected at these Lenten feasts, the quality of other offerings separates the best from the rest.

I wound up in Greenfield. Sweet Greenfield — home of St. Rosalia Parish — always gives me exactly what I’m looking for.

The church hosts its Lenten Kitchen in a cafetorium every Friday during Lent. There were orange plastic-backed chairs in a style I hadn’t encountered since I was 12. Children burned off school-day energy as they helped to deliver food to tables and sell drinks and baked goods. Oil in the air permeated my skin. Plentiful fried fish was served on locally baked buns. There was salty, buttery haluski. I pinched cheesy, orange pierogi filling apart for my child/reporting sidekick Wee Dude. (Sharing is so hard!)

For a fasting liturgical season, the true Pittsburgh fish fry is the most beautifully indulgent experience. It may seem like a natural springtime occurrence to ’Burgh natives, but to a transplant, it’s inherently unusual — and everything I ever wanted.

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