Edwardsville IL Homes for Sale and Real Estate

Madison County Traditions: Fish Frys

It's Friday and that can only mean one thing in Madison County:  Fish Fry Night.

If you're new to the St. Louis metropolitan area -- or new to the Midwest -- this might be an unfamiliar ritual. It involves calling a bunch of people you know and arranging to meet them at the Fish Fry of your choice. My family and friends have patronized the American Legion Post in Collinsville, Illinois for years, so that is the event I'll detail for this blog post.

There are certain restaurants in the world where you have to know exactly what to do before you set foot in the door. Mother's in New Orleans is one ("whatchu havin', baby?), and the famous Soup Nazi from Seinfeld is another ("No soup for you!). The Fish Fry is also a prime example of a place where you have to get your act together before stepping up to the order taker. But bypass the rules here and the friendly workers will still let you have your fish.

In this case, things are pretty simple. There's fish. It's cornmeal breaded and fried. The tasty filets can be served on white or rye bread. If you want a fish platter, then it comes with fries and tangy cole slaw. You can order sides of sharp, white onion or a large, unsliced dill pickle. Packets of tartar sauce and ketchup bottles are on the tables. (My friend Mary makes a pinkish sauce by combining the two into the perfect fish condiment. I am not convinced.) As an aside, Collinsville is home to the world's largest catsup bottle, so maybe it's fitting that folks are using it on fish.

The menu also offers fried shrimp and a few other items. I have never seen anyone order them, but I'm sure it happens from time to time.

Order as you enter the hall. Be sure to specifiy which bread you want. And buy your drinks at the same time (soft drinks or beer). There will be a long line behind you, so stare at the overhead menu as you approach the order table and make your decisions.

Then seat yourself. The best way to do that is to plop down at a long, gradeschool-type table with others. You'll get a good conversation and maybe even some new business opportunities. The last time I was there, I met a fellow who had invented lighted safety triangles for use by truckers. They're now being marketed all over the country.

Servers will come around to take your order ticket and bring your food and drinks. Don't forget to tip them by leaving some bills on the table as you head home.

For dessert there's pie. Maybe. Get there early and you might get lucky.

At the Collinsville Legion Post, the event takes place each Friday beginning at 4 p.m. and continuing until about 8 p.m.

Next "Madison County Traditions" post, we'll cover one of the region's other ubiquitous weekend activities: the Trivia Night.

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REMAX Preferred Partners is located at One 157 Center, Edwardsville, IL 62025, 618-791-8007 (direct) 618-655-1188 (office). We're easy to find on IL-157 in Edwardsville between Pasta House Co. and Shenanigans. Each office is independently owned and operated.

Comment balloon 1 commentNancy Milton Holtzscher • August 22 2008 10:37PM
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