A friend and I are taking part tonight in the Great Milwaukee Tradition of Fish Fry Fridays. While the fish frenzy is particularly fiendish during Lent, Milwaukee keeps a fryer full of fishy delights going year-round. We are always up for a cheap, filling meal (most frys are all-you-can-eat).
The exact content of the fish fry menu varies, but must stay within certain parameters to be part of the GMToFFF. The fish is generally cod, haddock or perch, with an occasional walleye thrown in for fun. Sides include cole slaw, french fries, potato pancakes (with or without applesauce), German potato dumplings or German potato salad. Marble rye is the most common bread, but salted rye rolls are the true tradition (and a personal favorite).
We're trying Ritter's Inn tonight. They don't take reservations, but we're going early ("old people" dinner time - 5 p.m.) and the hostess seemed to think we wouldn't have a problem. There are restaurants that do take reservations; the place I called yesterday said to call on Monday or Tuesday for a Friday dinner. Yes, we take our fish seriously.
The campus paper explored the tradition in a recent article. When my sister and I were little, our parents would take us out to the neighborhood bar every so often for a fish fry. My dad was German, so taking the family to the saloon for food and drink was a regular thing. Some of the best fish is served in those small, local haunts.
Update: Yum. Deep-fried walleye, flakey and hot. Moist but light homemade lemon bread in addition to the rye bread. Vinegar-based cole slaw (cabbage in general is not my thing - as far as I could tell from one taste, this was good). Potato dumplings. Fast, unobtrusive service. Two (very full) thumbs up.