Column: Psst. Wanna know where the big fish are?


I don’t want to give you the wrong impression by making you think the new eatery to sprout up in town is exclusive or hard to get into. That would be a disservice because the atmosphere is as welcoming as church on an Easter Sunday.

But, can you wait and put it on your bucket list as a must try for this summer?

Don’t be tempted, for you have just six days to experience a seafood commensality that, if missed, cannot be recreated again until next year.

Please, don’t think exclusive when I tell you the Knights of Columbus are behind the 15th Annual Lenten Fish Fry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. The only prerequisite to joining them for dinner is an appetite, 11 dollars and possibly a desire to help charitable causes; although not required.

Your $11 – tipping unnecessary – will go to help several worthy causes around our area, which becomes a rich dessert all by itself.

Jim Bagnoli, who could be Head Chef but prefers his given title of Fish Fry Chair, said, “The Lenten Fish Frys are more than just serving and eating fish. It’s about the overall experience, hospitality, fellowship and helping others.”

Like any dedicated foodie on a mission, he also shared that he would be remiss if he did not mention that the food is really good.

Reservations are not required for the meals from 5 to 7:30 p.m. the evenings of March 7, March 14, March 21, March 28, April 4 and April 11.

Once there, you can choose from succulent grilled salmon, all-you-can-eat fried Pollock or an East Coast delicacy like crabby cakes. All the fixings, accompanied by friendly and courteous servers make this “churchaurant” a top 10 Carmel, Westfield and Noblesville destination.

But just how big has this once-a-year tradition gotten? If 4,800 tartar sauce packets are any indicator; it’s huge. Last year, 4,267 meals were served with 1,034 meals delivered via the convenient drive-up window.

A city spokesman reports 85 volunteers were serving 237 meals every hour. That’s almost 5 meals a minute. Add in the cole slaw, French fries, apple sauce, cookies and ketchup packets and the team literally looked like a well-trained Indy Car pit crew.

Consider this your inside scoop, advance warning or a personal invitation to go fishing. Don’t let the big one get away.


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