Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Lenten Fish Fry Map Facebook page.

Can you smell it yet, Pittsburgh? Can you feel it, deep in your arteries?

Fish fry season — otherwise known as Lent which begins on March 6 — is coming soon and we’re here to help you find some serious fried fish. The last thing we want to do is start some inter-parish brawls over who’s best. With so many good fish fries in town, the best could be the one that’s nearest to wherever you are at any given moment.

But we do suggest you go to the ultimate resource for fish fry hunting: The ever-growing, open-source, 2019 Pittsburgh Lenten Fish Fry Map. Created by some lesser local saints, the map offers more than 250 locations, from the Aliquippa Croatian Center to Mother of Sorrows Church in Murrysville to the West Wilmerding VFD Station 211. 

Some are in church basements and fire halls while others are restaurants. All of them will be offering your fill of fried fish during Lent.

And the list will keep on growing. Tonight (Wed. Feb. 27) from 6 to 8 p.m. a “Fish Fry Map Update-a-Thon” is happening at Code & Supply in Friendship (3rd floor of the former Sharp Edge building, 5648 Friendship Avenue). Anyone with a laptop can come help update the map, and you’ll find free food and “fish-themed music.”

The group also has a Facebook page if you need unlimited fish pics to whet your appetite.

For another good list, check out the Pittsburgh Catholic (of course). 

Fish fry season is here just in the nick of time since the ultimate dependable source for fried fish sandwiches — Nied’s Hotel — is shutting down after what seems like millennia serving factory workers and their descendants in Lawrenceville. Giant, almost arm’s-length fish sandwiches wrapped in newspaper used to be something every corner bar in Pittsburgh did back in the day. But that’s become a rarity.

Luckily, there are a lot of church basements and fire halls out there who save their oil for just this time of year. Not all have a web presence — or a presence at all outside of church bulletins — so that interactive map is extra useful. 

While fried fish sandwiches are the main attraction, lots of places only use that to get you in the door. Just one example: Saint Mary of the Mount in Mt. Washington offers pierogies, mac and cheese, baked fish, fried shrimp, haluski, soup–and even grilled cheese for $2.

Happy eating, Pittsburgh.

Michael Machosky

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.