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A Tale of Two Fish Fries

Today is the last day of fish fries for the Lenten season.  In Omaha, the two major fish fries that get the most attention are those from Holy Name Catholic Church and Mary Our Queen Catholic church.  There are many others in the area, but these two seem to have a rivalry with each other.  Each have their own pluses and minuses, and I am going to briefly review both of them.  Before I do, one thing to understand is that both involve standing in long lines that can last at least two hours before you pay for your food and actually eat anything, and both involve the consumption of alcohol.

The first fish fry in Omaha is the Holy Name fish fry.  It usually opens up the week before Lent actually starts, so it has the advantage of being the first to open each season as well as historically.  In this fish fry, you stand outside most of the time and then the line snakes its way down an old tunnel and then up into the cafeteria.  In this fish fry, you bring your own beer of choice while waiting in line.  Many people bring their coolers and slide them alongside the line for the evening.  If the weather is nice outside, the line is longer, but there is usually a live band playing out in the parking lot to entertain the crowd.  It is nothing too edgy, though.  It is usually consisting of a small drum set, a banjo, and an accordion, but it is just right for the environment.  You cannot bring your beer into the cafeteria, so before you enter the cafeteria, you have to check your cooler at the entrance.  They check for IDs at this point, and if you are old enough, they will hand you one of their beers.  After that checkpoint, you pass a table that sells raffle tickets for things, and then you pass another table where you pay the $10.00 for all you can eat fish.  You take your ticket and exchange it for a styrofoam plate at the front of the cafeteria, and then find a place for you and your entourage to sit and eat.  The food consists of deep fried fish nuggets, coleslaw, fries, and your choice of white or wheat bread.  There is a bar on the side that sells wine, or gives out free beer and free O’douls for the designated driver.  Soft serve ice cream is for sale for $1.00, but they shut it down around 9:00 PM, so if you get late, you are out of luck.  Sundaes are about another dollar extra.  One thing about the Holy Name fish fry is that it is located in an older, run-down part of town, so you may have to park your car in front of an abandoned house, but the whole experience is worth it.  See below:

The second fish fry is located across town at Mary Our Queen Catholic church.  Unlike Holy Name, it is situated in a more suburban setting.  In this fish fry, you cannot bring your own beer.  Instead, they sell beer in the hallway of the school, which is where the line is formed.  You enter the school and are asked for your ID immediately, and then they give you a wristband once verified.  The line at Mary Our Queen takes about an hour longer than with Holy Name.  However, this is the fish fry to go to if it is cold outside or if you like more variety in your meal.  The cost of the meal here is $8.00, which is also all you can eat.  The meal includes your choice of fried fish fillets and/or baked fish fillets, your choice of french fries or deep fried mashed potatoes (be sure to try them if you have not had them already), coleslaw, and Macaroni with Cheese.  You can also choose to have white or wheat bread.  When getting seconds, you ask the mom at the rear entrance of the kitchen for what seconds you want, and they give it to you.  This has more of a family vibe than Holy Name.


The important thing to note are the organizations running each fish fry.  At Holy Name, it is the church’s Men’s Club, and at Mary Our Queen, it is the Knights of Columbus.  Tonight, you have an important decision to make.  I hope this helps.





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