Try a fry: part two

A dive into St. Peter's fish fry

Published by Sophia Bills, Date: March 22, 2024

For people who enjoy fish, there is no better time than Lent to find a good meal locally in Slippery Rock.

Whether it is at the fire hall or a church, fish fry dinners are aplenty. As a pescatarian who relies on fish for protein and other nutrients, I decided to attend and review the local fish fries. This is part two of two where I review the fish fry St. Peter of the St. Faustina Parish offers.

As in part one, James Cressman accompanied me on the evening of March 1, along with his fiancé, Kendall.

We arrived at the Catholic church around 5:15 p.m. The parking lot and building themselves were small, so we were not sure what to expect. There was plentiful signage pointing us to a door on the side of the building for the fish fry.

The entry brought us to a narrow, carpeted staircase leading to the basement, where all of the life seemed to be. We entered a room that was deceivingly large for how small the church looked from the outside. It was brimming with people, community and conversation.

A volunteer in an apron showed us the line for payment and food. It was long but moved fairly quickly. Soon, we had paid in cash and were at a row of tables where volunteers were dishing out dine-in and take-out orders.

The cost for a meal was $13. The church offered a student discount that we happily took advantage of, paying only $11. Kids’ meals were $7.

Here, we told the volunteers our orders and were served from steaming foil pans. We got a choice of fried or baked cod on a plate heaping with sides: fries, green beans, a roll and mac and cheese. We could also grab a cup of coleslaw as well as containers of tartar or cocktail sauce.

With our plastic silverware and plates in tow, we found seats at one of the long tables. We noticed that the tables were spaced pretty closely together, which made it a bit difficult for people to get in and out of the rows. The tables housed Heinz ketchup bottles every few seats and paper tablecloths.

Drink options were water, lemonade, iced tea and coffee. I mixed a concoction of lemonade and iced tea.

As we sat down to eat, we were struck by the generous portions. We also did not have to choose between multiple sides–we got them all.

The portion of fish (we all got it fried) was perhaps the most impressive. It appeared to be an entire fillet, fresh and battered on-site. It was crispy on the outside and tender and flaky on the inside.

“That fish was very good, and I’m not someone who eats fish very often,” James later said. “I think a major plus was that they breaded the fish there.”

I was looking forward to the mac and cheese. It was the kind that gets baked in a big tray with the top turning golden brown in spots, and I enjoyed it. As far as things with cheese go, in James’ opinion, the fire hall’s cheesy potatoes were still unrivaled though.

The roll came with butter and could be eaten on its own, but we noticed some people making sandwiches with their fried fish and sauce as the roll was big enough for that use. We appreciated the versatility.

Moving on to the coleslaw, it was quite enjoyable. Sweet and creamy are the best words to describe it. It appears that coleslaw is a staple at fish fries.

The chefs had seemingly added seasoning to the fries, and we enjoyed them. The green beans were canned. Our plates were nearly overflowing with food. We agreed that a plentiful meal for $11 was a great deal for college students.

“Beats cooking at home!” we heard one man remark. It was evident that people were there for the community and convenience.

Before finishing off with dessert, we took in the overall atmosphere. Many people seemed to know each other, likely as frequent attendants of the church. People enthusiastically greeted their friends, and there was more of a homestyle vibe to both the food and the venue.

We got the sense that this was a community within the Slippery Rock community. People were friendly and welcoming without being overbearing for our first time in the building. One chef came out of the kitchen when the line was especially long to announce that orders were coming through as fast as they could make them. We appreciated this thoughtful touch.

The three of us stayed for about an hour. We overheard that last week, the church had run out of mac and cheese and dessert after serving 412 people, quite an impressive number. We figured this fish fry might have had more attendees than the fire hall’s, but it was hard to tell.

Now for dessert. A large cart held shelves of cake, sliced, plated and plastic-wrapped. Since we had asked about the volume of cake last week, James inquired the church volunteers about their numbers. They had baked around 40 cakes.

Flavor options were nearly the same as the fire hall’s but with red velvet replacing spice cake. There were also plates of cookies and pie sprinkled around.

I chose angel food cake, and James went with Funfetti again. Kendall was full from dinner and chose a slice for later. The angel food cake was soft and spongey. James enjoyed his too but still stood by the fire hall’s dessert taking, well, the cake.

As a whole, we were impressed by the production the small church put on. They managed to serve hundreds of meals all while maintaining a home-like feel for familiar and new faces.

The St. Peter fish fry pleased us with its very affordable homecooked food. It was also impressively well-run, something I will admit we did not necessarily expect from a smaller venue. We saw room for improvement in accessibility as the staircase to the fish fry was narrow and steep. St. Peter could also make their packaging more environmentally friendly, but we did notice that the plates were biodegradable. 

I give St. Peter my ‘Most Homestyle’ designation!

Read part one, my review of SR Volunteer Fire Company’s fish fry, here.

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Sophia is a second-year English major with a concentration in literary, film and cultural studies. They are minoring in strategic communication and media studies. This is Sophia's second year serving as assistant copy/web editor. Outside of The Rocket, Sophia is involved in RockOUT, the Honors College Health and Wellness Subcommittee, UPB, YAL Rocks and Sigma Tau Delta. In her free time, Sophia enjoys reading historical fiction, painting and caring for their plants.


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