Festival Of Fish Fry: Madonna del Castello

Achievement: #17. Fish Fry Tour

Even though I’m far from Catholic these days, I still have a special place in my heart for the magic of the Lenten season. I put up Easter decorations, always try to think of something I’m going to give up (I usually end up repeating 1992 and just giving up DuckTales again, since I’m totally bad at thinking up better ideas). I sing Lady Gaga’s “Judas” at karaoke, and listen to the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack usually once daily for those forty days (did you know it’s actually more than 40 days, because Sundays don’t count? I know, RIGHT??), and I always sneak in at least one re-watch of the old movie (and yes, I know all of the Simon Zealot choreography and dance along, stop judging me as if you don’t, too).

But the best part of the Lenten season? ALL THE FISH FRY MADNESS.

This year, the amazing Hollen Barmer of Swissvale put together a mind-blowing map of fish frys to help you get the most out of the Lenten season. And if you’re like me… well… you’ve already spent a significant amount of time doing a March-Madness-esque elimination round to narrow it down to 7 stops (I mean, when you factor in the churches doing lunch AND dinner, you can expand that number from 7, I’m just saying…).

But in case you’re not slightly-insane about your Lenten Fish Fry Tour, we here at 101 Achievements would love to help you narrow it down and make some selections. So each week of Lent, we’ll be bringing you the details on a new fish fry for you to enjoy, starting with a brand-new-to-us church, Swissvale’s Madonna del Castello.

Fish Fry Tour - Madonna del Castello
(Also brought to you by our brand-new pride and joy, Daryl Dixon the Canon EOS Mark II. So named because, you know, he’s always a perfect shot. And he’s, you know, almost as sexy as his namesake.)

Fish Fry Tour - Madonna del Castello
Madonna del Castello is a Catholic church located right on South Braddock Avenue in Swissvale, a huge, looming church that you can’t miss as you’re driving past.

Fish Fry Tour - Madonna del Castello
And they’re a rarity – their weekly Lenten fish fry runs from noon until 7pm, so you can stop by for either lunch or dinner (really, it was surprising how few churches serve food before 4pm – but this is one of them!).

Fish Fry Tour - Madonna del Castello
Madonna del Castello has a beautiful little church cafeteria setup, as well: plenty of tables, very open and welcoming. We felt right at home chatting with the staff.

Fish Fry Tour - Madonna del Castello
And the food? I’ll just say this: bring a friend, because you’re going to get more food than either one of you can eat on your own.

For $8 this season, you get: eggplant, fish (either fried or baked, and either on a bun or with a dinner roll) or shrimp basket, your choice of pasta, mac n’ cheese, or halushki, applesauce or coleslaw, dessert, and a drink. I’ll just let the magnitude of that amount of food sink in for a minute.

Fish Fry Tour - Madonna del Castello
Your dessert options range from cake slices to brownies to cupcakes of all varieties. It was hard to pick just one, but we chose a dreamy brownie for our plate.

And here it is, in all its majesty – our first fish fry of the 2013 Lenten season!

Fish Fry Tour - Madonna del Castello
This fried fish was AWESOME. It was such a light breading that, although a hearty meal, I didn’t feel overwhelmed with grease and breading. Yummy, buttery bun, and halushki just like we used to get at marching band contests back in high school. The coleslaw was a little thick, but the flavor was delicious.

Fish Fry Tour - Madonna del Castello
It’s true, few things make me as thrilled as a good church fish fry.

So, thanks to the kind souls at Madonna del Castello, I’d say we’re off to a pretty good start on our 2013 Fish Fry Tour! The food was delicious, the church volunteers were all so welcoming and friendly, and the price just could not be beat. I highly recommend making a stop in here if you’ve got fish frys on your Easter-season to-do list!


Filed under #17, #17-13, church, fish fry, fish sandwich

4 Responses to Festival Of Fish Fry: Madonna del Castello

  1. Dad

    Looks like a great place. I think Uncle Joe and Aunt Carol belonged to this church before they left for HHI

  2. Mimi

    Jenn: this is great! My parents would love this. My nune and pap pap used to attend this church and was my mothers church through childhood. One of the most amazing congregations around! Thank you for sharing.

    • steelcityfox

      Awww I’m so glad! It was totally at random that we chose this church, how neat that it was your grandparents’! The volunteers working the fish fry were so friendly and nice to us. Great place! 🙂

  3. Lynn Perla

    Don’t forget the homemade Pasta Fagioli! I don’t know of any other church that makes it and it’s awesome!!!

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