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 are back on the hunt for the fish fry that will take top honors in 2012. Past winners include St. Bernard and St. Raphael.
Each Friday, Tony and Jeff lead a group they call â€œFryarsâ€ on a journey for good food, old friends and cold beer at local fish frys. They also go because they appreciate the selfless volunteers who proudly serve each weekend. This is theÂ third installment in their foray to find which parish provides the perfect catch.
The Fish Fry Guys Spring in Louisville means two things â€“ hoops and fried fish. While some Fryars wear red, some blue, and some even crimson, thereâ€™s one thing we can all agree on â€“ that a steaminâ€™ hot fish sandwich and an ice cold beer always hits the spot this time of year.
So the Fryars were eager to get a taste of last yearâ€™s defending champ, St. Raphael,Â 2141 Lancashire Avenue, Louisville,Â 40205,Â and with bracketologists everywhere locked in to see how the Giants fare in this seasonâ€™s March to the Final Fry, the results:
The Giantsâ€™ pre-breaded, large filet of cod was served on a very popular, unique rye bread. The baked fish was also tasty. Adequate portion of fish and $7 per dinner, which includes two sides, is very reasonably priced.
Fryarsâ€™ Score: 3.70 of 5.00
In this category, the only thing the Giants do better than green beans and onion rings â€“ which they do quite well â€“ is shrimp. The downside is the twenty minute wait (the Fryars obviously werenâ€™t the only ones impressed!) but there is no substitute for a heaping pile of Raphaelâ€™s deep fried crustaceans dipped in cocktail. The Fryars also enjoyed the mac â€˜nâ€™ cheese and thoroughly appreciated the fresh Krispy Kreme donuts for dessert.
Fryarsâ€™ Score: 3.56 of 5.00
Itâ€™s usually â€œAnonymousâ€ thatâ€™s attributed with the old quote, â€œLifeâ€™s too short to drink cheap beer,â€ but the Board suspects the good folks at St. Raphael coined the phrase.
In unparalleled appreciation for the importance of this category, the Giants have their own â€œmicro brewsâ€ station. Three dollars gets you your choice of Falls City, Cumberland Brew, BBC, Sam Adams Seasonal, and others, in a 20 ounce, take-it-home souvenir cup. (The Board noted that several Fryars had accumulated quite the collection by nightâ€™s end.)
Fryarsâ€™ Score: 4.50 of 5.00
As noted above, St. Raphaelâ€™s proximity to the donut shop and the Highlandâ€™s local breweries doesnâ€™t hurt its cause. The Giants also rolled out a TV for interested Fryars to take in some March Madness. The cafeteria setting was tight quarters, but seating wasnâ€™t a problem.
Fryarsâ€™ Score: 3.13 of 5.00
The Fryars were greeted with smiles and great service, were humbled by the selfless volunteers, and treated to a great Fry thanks to the hard-working, friendly folks at St. Raphael. Then, at closing time, the lights turned off and Fryars were whisked away into the night. Perhaps it was the micro brews, but the Fryars just didnâ€™t seem ready to leave this Fry.
Fryarsâ€™ Score: 3.30 of 5.00
As expected, last yearâ€™s Fish Fry Challenge winner and 2012â€™s No. 1 overall seed came on strong. This Fryâ€™s got an unstoppable combo great food and drink, wonderful people, and the intangibles needed to survive in March. St. Raphael is one of the Fryarsâ€™ favorites, and itâ€™s got them coming back each Spring.
Fryarsâ€™ Score: 3.70 of 5.00
Contact the Fish Fry Guys at YourVoice@voice-tribune.com.
The Fish Fry Guysâ€™ Next Stop:
St. Bernard, 7500 Tangelo Drive.