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 The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever

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Train

  • Total Posts: 23
  • Joined: 4/19/2001
  • Location: Indianapolis,
The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Fri, 09/25/09 9:41 PM (permalink)
The annual Hanna United Methodist All-You-Can-Eat Lake Perch Fish Fry is coming up, Saturday October 3. Held in a small farm town in south-central LaPorte County (Indiana), it’s the single best fish fry anywhere – at least it’s the best I’ve encountered, by a mile. The pictures are from last year’s event.
 
The Hanna fish fry’s secret weapon is actually the Lions Club of neighboring LaCrosse, who are always hired to do the actual frying – in an old school bus that’s been converted to a mobile kitchen.

 
They’ve been performing this function for area fish fries since the 1950s and, believe me, they know what they’re doing. The breading they’ve developed for yellow perch (different from what they use for other kinds of fish) is a perfect complement to the perch’s mild flavor.

 
The filets are just remarkable, so light and greaseless it’s kind of hard to believe they’re actually deep fried. Except for the memory of my mother’s pan-fried blue gill, I believe it’s the best fried fish I’ve had anywhere (and that includes New Orleans, the Calumet Region, the Connecticut shore, and various points in Wisconsin).

 
The event itself has a great community feel to it. Doors open at 4:00 but a line starts forming long before that. People who know about this fish fry attend from as far away as Michigan, Hammond, and Indianapolis.


Pick out a piece of pie (homemade, naturally), find a seat at one of the cafeteria tables, and dig in. Servers circulate around the room, refilling your plate with yellow perch filets almost as fast as you can eat them. There’s also the usual sides of cole slaw, potato salad, sometimes baked beans. The price is $12.

 
Lake perch fish fries like this used to be the fundraiser of choice in LaPorte and Porter Counties. But the rising cost of importing the fish has meant that most organizations have switched to pollock or even pork chop dinners. The Hanna event is the last holdout. Connoisseurs of lake perch should seriously think about making the drive this weekend (about an hour-and-a-half from Chicago).
 
All-You-Can-Eat Lake Perch Fish Fry
Saturday 3 October, 4 to 7 pm.
Hanna United Methodist Church
101 W Hopper Street, Hanna, Indiana

 
<message edited by Train on Fri, 09/25/09 9:46 PM>
 
#1
    agnesrob

    • Total Posts: 1790
    • Joined: 6/4/2006
    • Location: Park Ridge, NJ
    Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Sat, 09/26/09 7:59 AM (permalink)
    Well, if I lived in the area I'd be at that fish fry on October 3!
     
    #2
      mountain traveler

      • Total Posts: 130
      • Joined: 5/24/2004
      Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Mon, 09/28/09 1:07 AM (permalink)
      That's a good deal because our local grocery store is selling it for $8.99 a pound this week.
       
      #3
        Nancypalooza

        • Total Posts: 3778
        • Joined: 6/17/2004
        • Location: Columbia, SC
        Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Mon, 09/28/09 10:54 AM (permalink)
        Dayum.  That looks awesome!
         
        #4
          MilwFoodlovers

          • Total Posts: 3095
          • Joined: 3/31/2001
          • Location: Milwaukee, WI
          Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Mon, 09/28/09 11:59 AM (permalink)
          The breading, the amount of it and its color looks perfect to me.
          I can't remember the last time I've seen AUCE lake perch; consider yourself very lucky.
           
          #5
            NC Cheesehead

            • Total Posts: 158
            • Joined: 9/22/2009
            • Location: Indian Trail, NC
            Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Mon, 09/28/09 5:09 PM (permalink)
            Milwfoodlvr,

            Are you old enough to remember the 70's in Milwaukee when every corner bar in Milwaukee served an AUCE real lake perch fry?  I was young at the time but I remember it well.  I went with the family and Dad would relax with a beer with mom after work while us kids would work the pinball or juke box machines while waiting for our fish.  I remember it being real perch caught from Lake Michigan.  Then all the places switched over to cod and haddock when the lake perch fisheries took a dive.  Too bad the fisheries have vanished.
             
            #6
              MilwFoodlovers

              • Total Posts: 3095
              • Joined: 3/31/2001
              • Location: Milwaukee, WI
              Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Mon, 09/28/09 7:40 PM (permalink)
              NC Cheesehead, Yes I am old enough.
               
              #7
                leethebard

                • Total Posts: 6086
                • Joined: 8/16/2007
                • Location: brick, NJ
                Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Mon, 09/28/09 8:02 PM (permalink)
                Great looking fish...looks like a nice trip!
                 
                #8
                  Train

                  • Total Posts: 23
                  • Joined: 4/19/2001
                  • Location: Indianapolis,
                  Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Mon, 10/5/09 6:21 PM (permalink)
                  This year's Hanna fish fry was as great as ever. Big crowd on hand, but short wait in line.


                  Not only is the food amazing, but this event is also incredibly well run. It's seldom that your plate is ever empty of fish, or your cup devoid of lemonade, before someone swoops in and refills it. Great friendly vibe. Here's the pie table:


                  And the star of the show:


                  Every year, one hears rumors that this might be the last one, rising fish and fuel costs and a dwindling number of volunteers being the usual reasons given. It will be a sad day if this fish fry is ever retired. I cannot stress enough how great this thing is. Please mark your calendars for next year's now.
                  <message edited by Train on Mon, 10/5/09 6:23 PM>
                   
                  #9
                    KenK

                    • Total Posts: 143
                    • Joined: 3/22/2007
                    • Location: englewood, CO
                    Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Mon, 10/5/09 6:56 PM (permalink)
                    Wonderful pictures and great information. Thanks for sharing. Living in Colorado for well over thirty years, I must say I miss the fish fries that specialize in lake perch that I loved growing up in the midwest.

                    Something I attack every time I make a trip back to the Chicago area.

                     We have a restaurant in Denver, who's manager grew up in Wisconsin, and knows what a midwest fish fry with lake perch is all about. And he has started one each friday and saturday, and has lake perch flown in from the Great lakes on a weekly basis. Heaven on Earth.
                    <message edited by KenK on Mon, 10/5/09 6:58 PM>
                     
                    #10
                      quijote

                      • Total Posts: 643
                      • Joined: 12/22/2007
                      • Location: Milwaukee, WI
                      Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Mon, 10/5/09 11:14 PM (permalink)
                      Wow, that looks friggin' awesome. I love fried perch, and that stuff looks perfect. I could go for some of that pie right about now, too.
                       
                      #11
                        NC Cheesehead

                        • Total Posts: 158
                        • Joined: 9/22/2009
                        • Location: Indian Trail, NC
                        Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Fri, 10/9/09 10:24 AM (permalink)
                        Train,

                        You are making me hungry and jealous with those incredible photos.  Those filets look awesome.  The last time I had a lake perch fry was last march when I lived in Wisconsin.  I may make a pilgrimage back home soon to visit family if my cravings continue.

                        Ken K,

                        Any chance you could open a place here in NC?  I would be there in a minute.  Just out of curiosity, how well do Co. folks know lake perch and how has the fish fry gone over in mountain country?  When in that area, seems trout is the big thing for folks in that area.
                         
                        #12
                          KenK

                          • Total Posts: 143
                          • Joined: 3/22/2007
                          • Location: englewood, CO
                          Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Fri, 10/9/09 6:16 PM (permalink)
                          NC Cheesehead. To the best of my knowledge the Wisconsin style fish fries have gone over really well here in Colorado.

                          The Denver restaurant doing a fish fry is called Spanky's Roadhouse. It is located at 1800 East Evans Avenue, Denver,Colorado.  Spanky's is right next to the University of Denver. They offer Lake Perch, Walleye or Catfish and serve on Friday and Saturday. I go on Saturdays , as the there has been a long wait to get in on Fridays.

                          Aso there is another authentic all you can eat Wisconsin style fish fry, north of Denver. It is at Rocky Flats lounge. And their address and phone number is 11229 Highway 93, Boulder, Colorado. 303-499-4242.  Rocky Flats also serves Lake Perch, Walleye or Catfish. But they only offer their fish fry on Fridays. I get there early, and there is always a line out the door by the time I leave.

                          Here is a youtube video of Rocky Flats Lounge.

                          YouTube - Rocky Flats Lounge Walleye Fish Fry
                           
                          #13
                            Foodbme

                            • Total Posts: 9581
                            • Joined: 9/1/2006
                            • Location: Gilbert, AZ
                            Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Fri, 10/9/09 8:04 PM (permalink)
                            I grew up in a small town in Western PA that was 98% Catholic so you know that Friday was Fish Day.. Every restaurant, bar and Fraternal Club like the Elks, Moose & Eagles, every Church & Catholic School, the K of C & the Catholic Mens Fraternity, the Am Legion & VFW all had Fish Frys. The fish of choice was Lake Erie White Fish. Great Memories!!
                             
                            #14
                              Train

                              • Total Posts: 23
                              • Joined: 4/19/2001
                              • Location: Indianapolis,
                              Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Thu, 09/23/10 12:35 PM (permalink)
                              This event is happening once again this year, Saturday Oct 3. Besides the usual rumors of its imminent demise, this year there is also talk that the LaCrosse Lions are thinking of getting out of the frying business after more than 50 years. That would be a tragedy, as they are the event's most important element. At any rate, they'll be there this year -- and if you live within 150 miles of LaPorte County, Indiana, you should be too. Best fish fry anywhere.
                               
                              All-You-Can-Eat Lake Perch Fish Fry 
                              Saturday 2 October 2010, 4 to 7 pm. 
                              Hanna United Methodist Church 
                              101 W Hopper Street, Hanna, Indiana
                               


                               
                              #15
                                Sfreader

                                • Total Posts: 503
                                • Joined: 4/18/2006
                                • Location: Lenexa, KS
                                Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Thu, 09/23/10 2:34 PM (permalink)
                                Wish I could be there!
                                 
                                #16
                                  Nancypalooza

                                  • Total Posts: 3778
                                  • Joined: 6/17/2004
                                  • Location: Columbia, SC
                                  Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Thu, 09/23/10 3:20 PM (permalink)
                                  The pie table alone should get you there.
                                   
                                  #17
                                    DirtDude

                                    • Total Posts: 161
                                    • Joined: 12/12/2009
                                    • Location: Florence, SC
                                    Re:The Best Lake Perch Fish Fry Ever Sat, 09/25/10 8:22 AM (permalink)
                                    I loved that converted schoolbus!
                                     
                                    #18
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