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🎣 An evening at the fish fry

It takes a veritable Noah's Ark of volunteers to pull off the iconic St. Albert's Friday fish fry.

Longfellow Whatever
3 min read
🎣 An evening at the fish fry

It's not immaculate conception or walking on water, but the St. Albert’s Friday fish fry is something of a miraculous feat in its own right.  

Like many churches, halls, and restaurants across the region, the Church of St. Albert the Great (2836 33rd Avenue) spends the six Friday evenings leading up to Easter celebrating the Catholic tradition of the Friday fish fry. And locally, St. Albert’s has become to the church fish fry what Matt’s Bar is to the Jucy Lucy: the marquee example that draws people from all over.  

Which means that each week a hundred-some volunteers in a church basement have to pull off something that would be tough for any professional kitchen: Feeding a steady crush of (often) more than 1,000 people a dinner of fish, spaghetti, potatoes, hash browns, coleslaw, bread, milk, lemonade, coffee, and dessert. Plus running raffles, silent auctions, bingo, live music, and what amounts to a three-hour standup comedy routine from retired Pastor and southside native Father Joe Gillespie.  

Religion aside — which, for what it's worth, is rarely mentioned — it’s one of the neighborhood’s great spectacles. In her definitive 2015 profile, Star Tribune’s Sharyn Jackson described it as “loud, lively, no-holds-barred fun — like a farcical play set in a church basement.”

A fraction of the diners that will pass through the St. Albert's basement on a given Friday evening
Father Joe Gillespie, who recently retired from St. Albert's, calling raffle numbers and bantering with a baby