Family-friendly fish fry: Proceeds go to youth programs and school

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It’s not unusual to see teenagers serving seconds and even thirds at the Lenten Friday Fish Frys at Transfiguration Catholic Church in Oakdale. This I learned last week, when I indulged in the congregation’s all-you-can-eat fish fry. 
And indulge, I did.
Tucked away a few blocks into Oakdale off of Century Avenue, Transfiguration Catholic Church has many members from Woodbury. This I learned quickly, as I saw several students wearing Woodbury-themed sweatshirts and jerseys. 
Students do a lot of the work at these fish frys, Transfiguration Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry Justin Kortuem said. Every year, there are three fish frys scheduled during Lent. The first two were designated for the youth programs of the church. The final one for this year will be held this Friday, with proceeds going to Transfiguration Catholic School.
This was the first time I found a place that was not serving cod fillets. Instead, Transfiguration serves up a boat of fried or baked – or both – pollock. It was a nice change, something different, from what I had eaten the past couple of weeks.
At first, I tried both the fried and the baked fish. The three pieces of fried pollock were crispy, with firm meat inside. I tried to figure out what the secret was to the baked pieces – I was guessing garlic butter – but later found out they use a blend of Italian dressing and lemon pepper in the marinade. Whatever it was, it was tasty. 
But I was there for the fish fry. So when the young lady came around with a cart full of seconds, I gladly accepted several more pieces. 
Visitors have a choice of either a baked potato or French fries. I chose the baked potato, but I know the French fries were a hit because the family at the next table took a few extras on those. The meal also includes a cup of coleslaw, some tasty cookies, and coffee, lemonade or water. If visitors choose, they can also purchase grilled cheese sandwiches. I didn’t go that route, but I saw quite a few families who did.
And that’s one of the nice things I noticed about Transfiguration’s meal – it was a low-key, family-friendly affair. The room was busy but not so much that folks couldn’t stay and visit after their meals. I spotted several young families, and I found a few multi-generational families. 
It reminded me of years gone by, when my brother and I would stay with our own grandparents, and we’d all go out for a fish fry. It was that kind of comfortable for me.
Most of the folks who come to the fish frys are from Transfiguration’s congregation, Kortuem said. The past couple meals have drawn about 150 people, and there is ample seating. 
The students who volunteer most often are the ones preparing for Confirmation. A lot of times, their parents also participate, Kortuem said. 
“It’s a nice event for the community and the parish to come together during Lent to have a meal together, and to bring the community together,” Kortuem said. “And the kids who do it get a greater sense of service to the broader community.”
Transfiguration Catholic Church will hold one more fish fry for the 2015 year from 5-7 p.m. this Friday, March 6. The cost is $9 for adults, $8.50 for seniors, and $5 for children ages 12 and younger. A family meal is available for $35. The grilled cheese sandwiches are an extra $4.
I think that covers my trips to area churches hosting Friday Fish Frys. I’m going to look around and see where I’m heading for this coming Friday, so if anyone has a good idea – and I’m hoping to stay in Woodbury if possible – please email me at mleonard@woodburybulletin.com, or leave me a message at 651-702-0974. You can also leave suggestions on our Woodbury Bulletin Facebook page. 
Transfiguration Catholic Church and School is located at 6133 15th St. N.in Oakdale. For more information call 651-738-2646, or visit transfigurationmn.org.