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A different catch each week at Cowboy Jack’s

Well, here we are, at the end of The Woodbury Bulletin’s Friday Fish Fry series. It seems somewhat appropriate, then, that this final destination is about something a little different, when it comes to fish frys.

My last stop was to Cowboy Jacks, where they do a year-round Friday Fish Fry. I learned, completely by accident, that the fish fry there doesn’t start until 5 p.m., but it does go until 10 p.m.

I learned that because I thought I’d get in a mid-afternoon lunch after getting tires put on my car. When I walked in the door and explained what I was looking for, the hostess told me that the fish fry at Cowboy Jack’s didn’t start until 5 p.m. 

I was not expecting that. 

But she was good enough to seek out Back of House Manager Chuck Magadanz, who kindly offered to whip up a small batch of batter early so I could give the fish fry a try. 

It turns out that Magadanz likes to switch things up now and then, when it comes to the Friday Fish Fry at Cowboy Jack’s. The fish, he told me, is either pollock or tilapia, depending on what he decides to order each week. The fish is always ordered fresh, not frozen, he added.

Last week’s filet was tilapia. I was thrilled. After six weeks of trying the area’s fish frys, I’d had a lot of cod, and pollock once. To have a different type of fish was a happy surprise. (Not that I argue with any of the meals I’ve had so far!)

Cowboy Jack’s has its own beer batter recipe, made with Budweiser beer and a seasoned flour. Magadanz said the batter is generally made up just before the fish fry starts each week, so it too is fresh. I don’t know what the seasonings were in the flour, but the finished product was nothing short of pretty. The beer flavor really came through, too. And I like that.  

Cowboy Jack’s also serves pan-fried sunnies, walleye, and Atlantic salmon off of its regular menu – all of which are pretty popular, particularly during Lent. 

“Yes, now that it’s Lent, we go through a lot of fish,” Magadanz said.

The meal came with two nice filets and a pile of crinkle cut French fries. I don’t know what they seasoned the fries with, but the end result was tasty. The fish and fries were accompanied by a mound of coleslaw, which Magadanz said also uses a fresh dressing, made in-house. 

I have to admit, I was especially impressed by the tartar sauce. Also made in the Cowboy Jack’s kitchen, this tartar sauce had a fantastic taste. It had nice chunks of pickles in it, which gave a nice, tangy flavor – perfect for dipping both fish and French fry. 

Again, yes, I dip my French fries in tartar sauce. Don’t knock it until you try it, and if you’re going to try it, I’d start at Cowboy Jack’s. Just sayin’. It was a great combination.

The experience at Cowboy Jack’s was somewhat new for me, too.  I was amused by the mechanical bull right in the middle of the place. I didn’t get to see anyone ride it – and I wasn’t about to try, especially after eating all of that food – but it looked like fun, all the same. 

Since this is the last week before Easter, my Friday Fish Fry series comes to an end with this piece. I’m angling (Get it? Fish? Angling? It’s corny, I know) for another series because I’ve really enjoyed getting out and visiting a variety of places around the Woodbury area. 

But now that I know – and you know – where all the hot spots are for fish frys, I hope you’ll get out there, try some of these meals, and support your local businesses. 

Cowboy Jack’s is located at 1690 Woodlane Drive in Woodbury. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. For information, call 651-493-8887.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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