Knights of Columbus reel in diners with ‘Fish Fry Fridays’

The Knights of Columbus serve up a plate of fried cod with hand-cut French fries and homemade coleslaw for only $8. The price includes coffee, tea or water and ice cream for dessert.  Lucette Moramarco photos
The Knights of Columbus serve up a plate of fried cod with hand-cut French fries and homemade coleslaw for only $8. The price includes coffee, tea or water and ice cream for dessert. Lucette Moramarco photos

One of the most popular dining venues in Fallbrook on Friday evenings isn’t a restaurant, but rather a church hall.

The Knights of Columbus are in the midst of hosting their “Fish Fry Fridays,” a tradition the organization started nearly 30 years ago. The dinners are held during the Lenten season at St. Peter’s Hall, 450 S. Stage Coach Ln.

Four more “Fish Fry Fridays” remain this year – March 17, 24, 31, and April 7. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner is served until 7 p.m., however, it is strongly recommended that one arrives sooner rather than later as the dinner items have been selling out.

The dinners are not only bargains, they’re delicious. The Knights offer the following options: fried cod with homemade cole slaw and fresh hand-cut French fries for $8; baked salmon with mixed vegetables for $9; a shrimp plate for $9; and a fried fish-shrimp combo for $10. A child’s plate of fried fish is just $4.

Coffee, tea or water, plus ice cream for dessert, are included in the price. Wine, beer and other spirits are also available at very reasonable prices.

Good food and good prices for a good cause – the Knights distribute the money raised from fundraisers like “Fish Fry Fridays” back into the community via charitable donations – has translated into booming business.

“Typically we’ll serve 190 dinners on the first (Friday) night,” said Jeremy Ridgeway, deputy grand knight and chair of the dinners. “Our first Friday this year (March 3) we served 252 dinners and today (March 10) we served over 300.”

A surge in attendance from week one to week two is common, however, the numbers from both Fridays were new highs, according to Ridgeway.

“Usually the second week is busier, but this a record week,” said Ridgeway of week two. “And (March 3) was a record for an opening Friday.”

Word of mouth is a great form of advertising and people that attend the dinners no doubt tell their friends about this “limited-time offer” that features quality fresh food in a welcoming environment.

“It’s for fellowship,” said Ridgeway of the dinners. “It’s a community event, and we want everyone to come in and remember that this is the Lenten season and to enjoy each other’s company.”

“It’s good food and good fun,” said Bob Kahle, one of the many Knights of Columbus members working the dinner. “It’s a social event where you come and meet your neighbor and have a good meal, and the proceeds go to help the community.”

The Knights of Columbus offer baked salmon, served with a healthy portion of mixed vegetables, for just $9 during their "Fish Fry Fridays" fundraisers at St. Peter's Hall.
The Knights of Columbus offer baked salmon, served with a healthy portion of mixed vegetables, for just $9 during their “Fish Fry Fridays” fundraisers at St. Peter’s Hall.

Socializing is great, but people wouldn’t repeatedly come back if they didn’t like the food. They obviously do as the Knights sold out of both salmon and shrimp at the March 10 dinner.

The fried cod is flakey and tasty and served with tartar sauce. Malt vinegar is also available. Keeping the cod company on the plate are a healthy serving of hand-cut fries and a helping of “secret recipe” coleslaw.

“We started the fresh cut French fries about seven years ago and it’s been a hit and people don’t want it to go away,” said Ridgeway, who bought 200 pounds of potatoes the morning of March 10. “We cut them and blanch them in the morning, then let them sit out and get cold, and then we fry them a second time.”

The salmon is moist and delicious and comes with a plate full of veggies.

“The salmon is fresh,” said Ridgeway. “We marinade it in some orange juice and seasonings and we bake it.”

And the popular shrimp?  “We beer batter it,” said Ridgeway.

The dinners can also be enjoyed at home as the Knights offer takeout. For more information, call (760) 689-6200.

NOTE: The Knights of Columbus is an international organization of nearly two million Catholic men whose principal work involves helping others in need. The Fallbrook council is associated with St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Parish. For more information about the Knights of Columbus, visit www.kofc.org.

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