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Apr 3, 2008 07:25 AM

Wisconsin-style Fish Fry?

I've lived in Chicago (and now west of the city) for nine of the past 10 years and have never been able to find a proper Wisconsin-style fish fry in or around Chicago. Sure, there are plenty of taverns that will serve English/Irish pub inspired plates of fried fish and French fries--maybe even some slaw or, sadly, peas on the side. This is fine. But I'm looking for the Friday night fish fry of my youth..the same Friday night fish fry that happens in Milwaukee and pretty much every town across Wisconsin each week. Where are the relish trays, baskets of marble rye bread, both German and American potato salad, cole slaw, potato pancakes, French fries and the choice of baked or fried fish?

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      1. re: amoncada

        ditto amoncada's comment.
        badgerbrian, us flatlanders (or at least this one) have never seen a W. ff in the Chicago area. I think you will need to drive up to Miwaukee.
        I know that a few VFW halls have Friday fish fries. I have never tried those either, but you could try that. There's one in Park Ridge.

    1. I just did a little sleuthing online and although it is on the way south side of Chicago, it might interest you. It's a place called Club 81 Too. The bar is open daily, but they only serve food on Wednesdays from 4-8 and Friday from 3-8:30. I'm not sure if it is traditional Wisconsin fish fry, but maybe you can let us know by looking at some pictures on this lth forum thread:

      1. The VFW on Devon in Elk Grove Village does one every Friday. It's supposed to be pretty good, although I have not tried it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ketel Guy

          Probably the worst fried fish I've ever had, but that was a few years ago.

        2. Badgerbrian- The one question I have for you is where are you located and how far are you willing to drive for it?

          Up here in Lake County IL we have enough of the Green & Gold crowd running around that there several good fish Fry's are easily found at many of local bars, most notably at the Thirsty Turtle in Antioch which features a Door county fish fry & boil.

          I can also attest that right at the border starting in Pleasant Prairie (Kenosha) fish fries abound. I don't think its too far a drive from the city, but since I'm in Gurnee and trek down to the city I'm well used to 40+ min ride.

          Thirsty Turtle Beach Bar and Grill
          42273 N Woodbine Ave
          Antioch, IL 60002 (847) 395-4704

          Thirsty Turtle
          Antioch, il, Antioch, il

          1. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL does an awesome Lenten fish and shrimp buffet that brings in about a thousand people a night! It was set up by a guy that grew up in Milwaukee. Set some sort of world record last year, I believe. Tons of volunteers keep everything stocked and moving fast.

            They now have a webpage up with all the details.

            Their 2009 fish fry season runs for seven Fridays from February 20 through April 3, 4:30-7:30pm. Prices: $12.95 adults, $10.95 senior citizens, $7.95 kids (3-12). Dessert and most drinks included.

            St Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
            1023 Mchenry Ave, Crystal Lake, IL