By TONY COLYER and JEFF AMES
The Fish Fry Guys
The fourth Annual Fish Fry Challenge kicked off with a bang last Friday â€“ or “Fryday,” as we spell it â€“ when the Fryars met at St. Patrick, home of last yearâ€™s winner. St. Patrick volunteers, looking to repeat, proudly wore â€œVoted No. 1 by the Fry Guysâ€ aprons and prominently displayed championship banners. Clearly, our Celtic friends are not afraid to flex some financial muscle when it comes to defending their title.
And they did not disappoint! From the moment the Fryars were greeted with their first round until the point of last call as the dining tables were collected, the Fryars ate, drank and were merry. Was the showing enough to keep the title at North Beckley Station? Time will tell.
Fish: St. Patrick hand-breads their cod before itâ€™s fried up to perfection. A very generous filet of fish served on your choice of bread. The lemon pepper sauce on the baked fish is also a crowd pleaser.
Sides/Desserts: Once again, the Celtics served blizzards for dessert, much to the delight of the Fryars. The large shrimp are a must, and we highly, highly recommend the mac-n-cheese (which, according to sources, was actually provided by Cheddar Box, but the Fryars have no rule against outside catering). St. Patrick is one of only a few Frys that serves rolled oysters.
Beverages: If thereâ€™s anything better than a hot fish sandwich and a cold draft beer on a Friday night, the Fryars havenâ€™t found it. With three different taps to choose from, $2 20-ounce drafts and a quick line, St. Patrick was able to quench the Fryarsâ€™ thirst with no problem. Some Fryars voiced a displeasure with the lack of selection, as there was no Bud Light, but this Fryar noted it did not affect overall consumption.
Venue: The Fryarsâ€™ intimidation of the St. Patrick campus that rivals that of small colleges was quickly decimated by the beautiful and familiar aroma of fried fish batter making its way through the parking lot. And thereâ€™s no better venue than a grade school gym proudly donning banners of â€œFry Guy Winners.â€ Some Fryars expressed concern of the lack of available seating, which shows just how popular last yearâ€™s winner is.
Friendliness: Nobody treats the Fryars better than the good folks at St. Patrickâ€™s, where Fr. Martin takes time to visit with Fry patrons and volunteers talk up the Fryars on everything ranging from fish to grade hoops. While the Fryars love the fish, beer and blizzards, itâ€™s the people at St. Patrick that make this Fry so special.
Overall: With banners waving, beer flowing and fish fryinâ€™, St. Patrick showed why they are the defending Fish Fry Challenge Champs. Their showing this year will prove to be a tough test for all challengers.
This Friday, Feb. 22, the Fryars will go west to visit Good Shepherd, 3525 Rudd Avenue.