By JEFF AMES and TONY COLYER
Fish Fry Guys
A few years ago, Tony Colyer bragged to some former high school buddies that his alma mater (St. Bernard â€™97) had the best fish in town. Naturally, they quickly protested that their respective parishes hosted top-of-the-line fish frys, and a debate ensued. The solution to settling the issue was obvious to Tony and his pal, Jeff Ames: They decided to try them all, and, thus, the Fish Fry Challenge was born.
In itâ€™s third year, the Fish Fry Guys were back on the hunt for the fish fry that would take top honors in 2012. Past winners include St. Bernard and St. Raphael.
Each Friday, Tony and Jeff led a group they call â€œFryarsâ€ on a journey for good food, old friends and cold beer at local fish frys. They also went because they appreciate the selfless volunteers who proudly served each weekend. This is the final installment in their foray to find which parish provides the perfect catch.
The Fryars were very disappointed to learn that its final selected venue canceled its weekly Fish Fry due to a volleyball tournament the week the Fryars were slated to appear.
Despite that mishap, a tornado-riddled Friday requiring a cancellation, and the mediocre â€œreviewsâ€ from this writer, weâ€™re calling the 2012 Fish Fry Challenge a â€œsuccess.â€
As always, the challenge served as a great excuse to get together with some very fun and wonderful people, enjoy some seafood, and support local parishes around the city. It was quite the (ahem) fishing expedition.
And now, the moment youâ€™ve all been waiting for…The Final Results!
St. Patrick had Fryars raving about their hand-breaded, large filets of cod, and St. Raphaelâ€™s remarkably unique marble-rye bread was a real crowd-pleaser. But in the end, and for the third year running, it was St. BernardÂ winning this category with its spicy version of Green River-styled fried fish.
We had our fair share of delicious mac & cheese, fries, green beans and onion rings. But St. Raphael won this category by going above and beyond with its mouth-watering shrimp.
Neither the scrumptious, homemade baked goods at Edward nor the Krispy Kreme donuts at Raphael could top St. PatrickÂ here, as they decided to do something different and serve up Blizzards to their fry-goers.
In a landslide, St. Raphael walked away with the prize after offering $3 pint-sized take-home souvenir cups filled to the brim with your favorite microbrew.
The Fryars felt that the large gym, plentiful seating, pay-when-you-enter system, and of course the wave of fryinâ€™ batter that hits the nose as you enter the Celtic Center made St. PatrickÂ the best Fry venue of 2012.
The Fryars have been called a â€œrough crowd.â€Â Despite this, weâ€™re treated with the utmost kindness on our weekly voyages across the city as we pursue the perfect Fry. And at no place were the Fryars greeted more hospitably than at St. Edward, where the volunteers wowed the Fryars with their patient smiles and warm conversation.
A tip of the hat to all the venues that opened their doors and their kitchens to the hungry, thirsty, and loud Fryars during the 2012 Challenge. And congratulations to this yearâ€™s overall winner, St. Patrick. The red-carpet reception, the venue, the cold draft beer and the great food made this the Fryarsâ€™ favorite Fry of the year.