Go Fish: Pescatarian Delights
Though the type of fish, batter recipe and sides might change from church to church, for decades Lenten Friday Fish fries have been a major fundraising event for parishes all around the country. And all these fries have one thing in common: bringing the community together.
While the pandemic has forced many churches across the area to alter or cancel this beloved tradition, 39 local restaurants will do their very best to keep it alive this year with Fish Fry Fridays.
The Fish Fry Fridays campaign was launched during Lent 2020 to help hospitality workers laid off during the pandemic. It raised more than $12,000 from restaurant sales and a sponsorship from TABASCO®, who will sponsor the campaign again in 2021. They will also be joined by New Orleans Fish House, who will offer discounts to participating restaurants for their seafood features. Participating restaurants will donate $1 per fish fry entrée sold each week.
“The pandemic has hit the hospitality sector the hardest,” says Michael Williamson, UWSELA President and CEO. “Our community always comes together to help those in need, and this campaign is no different. The restaurants themselves are stepping up to keep the industry alive while providing a safety net for its employees through Hospitality Cares.”
Hospitality Cares is a crisis grant program offering varying resources, including free civil legal aid, counseling and emergency financial assistance to individuals working in the hospitality industry – one of the region’s largest employment sectors. The emergency grants award up to $2,500 to eligible employees at hospitality businesses running active United Way workplace campaigns in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes. The funds provide temporary assistance during times of crisis to cover basic financial needs, including housing, medical and utility bills.
“The Hospitality Cares City Wide Fish Fry is a great way for Pêche to participate in a long standing New Orleans culinary tradition and give back to our community,” says Executive Chef/Partner Ryan Prewitt of Pêche Seafood Grill.
Last year, GW Fins found the experience truly exciting to see the enthusiasm they were met with, and they are grateful for the opportunity to once again participate in this city-wide event.
“Not only does this event provide a great opportunity for people to sample dishes from so many of our local restaurants, but it simultaneously supports an organization like the United Way and restaurant workers during this challenging time,” says Gary Wollerman, owner of GW Fins.
“We’re looking forward to having guests enjoy our Beer Battered Speckled Trout this year.”
Jennifer Weishaupt, founder CEO of the Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group knows that the Covid-19 pandemic has crippled so many in the restaurant industry over the last year.
“We are incredibly thankful that we have been able to navigate the challenges and complexities of operating during a pandemic and are still able to open our doors for service,” says Weishaupt. “We know many have not been so fortunate and we want to give back in any way we can to this industry that we love so much. United Way’s Fish Fry Fridays is the perfect opportunity to partner with our fellow New Orleans restaurants to help support our community’s hospitality industry employees. They are truly the backbone of the restaurant industry.”
To find a list of participating restaurants and their Lenten specials go to FishFryFridays.org.
“We are proud to participate in this campaign,” says Phil DeGruy, New Orleans Fish House sales manager. “It is not only bringing us closer together, but it allows us to keep traditions going and keep restaurants open.”