Who doesn’t love a good fish fry? It’s Louisville, man, and the population is nearly 20 percent Catholic. So, you know, fire up those fryers.
From St. Augustine to St. Joseph, church picnics begin in earnest Friday, March 8, and will happen every Friday into mid-August, and the fish will be sizzling across the city. No meat on Friday? No problem, Louisville has you covered.
But if you’re looking for more consistent options for your fried fish and fries (and sometimes oysters, shrimp and more), Louisville has plenty to offer no matter what the season. Here’s a look at 10 — in no particular order — with a few other examples thrown in for good measure.
1) The Fish House — 1310 Winter Ave.
Home of the Green River-style fish fry, it’s hard to beat this little spot where the Highlands meets Germantown. The selection is almost ridiculous, with scrod, catfish, tilapia and haddock all options for sandwiches or platters, and tons of other seafood can be had battered and fried in the same traditional blend, from Gulf shrimp to clams. And if you go in the morning, it doubles as a New Orleans-inspired coffee house, complete with beignets.
2) Mike Linnig’s — 9308 Cane Run Road
Possibly the only thing more Louisville than a Catholic church picnic is the time-honored Mike Linnig’s out in Pleasure Ridge Park. This is a place that, in its 90-plus-year history, has endured fires and floods and still persists as one of Louisville’s go-to places for fried seafood. The whitefish sandwich rules the day, but you can get catfish, tilapia and even salmon, plus tons of other seafood options. If you don’t top off your meal with the signature onion rings, you have some explaining to do.
3) PassTime Fish House — 10801 Locust Road, Jeffersontown
This Jeffersontown staple is best known for its ridiculously huge cod sandwiches. Lightly coated in a peppery batter, this bad boy is touted on the menu as “almost famous.” That’s close enough for us. Get the PassTime platter, with cod, shrimp, oysters and froglegs (for $2 extra), and you’ll have to loosen your belt a couple of notches. And if you’re not quite that hungry, give the fish bites appetizer a try. You won’t be sorry.
4) Suburban Social Club Fish Fry — 3901 S. Third St.
Seasonal like the church picnics, the Suburban Fish Fry has been around for a long time, opening every Saturday from March to November in its spot on South Third Street. The offering is pretty basic, with a dinner featuring Green River-style fried cod, fries, coleslaw and marinated onions or sandwiches on your choice of bread. You can also buy fish by the pound and take it go. It’s cash only, and when it runs out, it runs out.
5) Clarksville Seafood — 916 Eastern Blvd., Clarksville
This longtime neighborhood favorite just across the river is still going, and it’s barely changed since it was part of the Cape Codder chain back in the 1950s, set in a small gray house with blue trim and lots of nautical décor inside. Grab yourself a fish box for two or fill your belly with fried shrimp, clams and other classic options, and walk out without hurting the wallet too much.
6) The Fishery — 3624 Lexington Road
This cozy little stop in St. Matthews is another long-enduring neighborhood favorite, perched on Lexington Road and specializing in Icelandic cod and catfish, but serving plenty more, from shrimp to pan-fried oysters to chicken livers. You can pair your meal with vegetable bean soup, hand cut slaw, hand cut onion rings and more. And if you’re having a fish party for Lent, The Fishery even caters.
7) Hill Street Fish Fry & Seafood — 111 E. Hill St.
For more than two decades, this tiny former ice cream store has been serving tasty seafood in hearty portions. The dining area only seats a few people, so carry-out is the thrust of the business, but if you decide to stay, you’ll get friendly service in a cozy atmosphere where you’ll feel like a regular. If you’re really hungry, try your hand at the super whitefish sandwich. They also make a mean rolled oyster and uncommonly good clam chowder.
8) Moby Dick — various locations
A friend recently asked me if Moby Dick was local or a national chain, and I actually had to look it up (it is). This mini-chain has been around since 1967, when it began serving “a whale of a sandwich,” or so goes the slogan. Wild-caught Icelandic cod is the name of the game here, along with shrimp, clams, pan-fried oysters and more. With more than a dozen locations, there’s a chance there’s already one in your neighborhood.
9) Sal’s Pizza Pub — 812 Lyndon Lane
Yeah, yeah, it’s an Italian place. But this neighborhood joint in Lyndon has some of the tastiest fried fish you’ll find in town. I once ordered the platter and the server almost laughed at me. I switched to “just” the fish sandwich and still couldn’t finish it. The fish is thick, chunky and fried perfectly, and the house-made tartar sauce is the perfect complement.
10) Captain Ville — 2001 Seventh Street Road
It’s worth a drive to Algonquin to check out Captain Ville, which is a sibling restaurant to Shark’s Seafood and Chicken. While catfish is the top seller at this out-of-the-way joint, the awning on the building entices with the promise of perch, salmon, cod, tilapia and shrimp as well. You can also get tasty-looking desserts, and everything on the menu is pocketbook-friendly.
And more …
In addition, a few restaurants around town are offering fried fish and other specials during Lent, such as Monnik Beer Co., which offers fried Kentucky silver carp. In addition, Joella’s and Royals Hot Chicken are both serving fish sandwiches during Lent, in case you like to spice things up.
Other places around town where you can find fried fish include Irish Rover, Lucretia’s Kitchen, Check’s Cafe, Hull and High Water, Kingfish, The Dock Seafood, Sharks Seafood, Seafood Lady, Fireside Bar and Grill, Angie’s Home Cooking, Mary & John O’Bryan’s Tavern, Daisy’s Country Cooking, Shirley Mae’s Café, Franco’s Restaurant and Catering, Floyd County Brewing Co. and Webb’s Market.