Hooked On Fish During Lent

The best local eateries serving fish that isn’t fried during Lent.

Baked haddock being served at St. John the Baptist Chruch during a Friday dinner. Michael Davis photo

Fried fish on Fridays: It’s everywhere in Central New York, and even more so during the Lenten season leading up to Easter, when Catholics abstain from red meat on Fridays. It seems like every church, fire department, legion hall and restaurant offers a fish fry or haddock dinner.


Angling for something other than fried fish? We turned to Facebook to crowd source some suggestions for un-fried fish. Here are some recommendations.

One of St. John the Baptist Chruch’s fish dinners during Lent. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

St. John the Baptist/Holy Trinity Church, 406 Court St. (315) 478-0916. The parish offers baked fish dinners on Fridays during Lent. There are two Fridays left in the season, March 31 and April 7. Dinners are served 4 to 7 p.m. and include baked fish, two sides, roll and dessert ($8). Bonus: New England clam chowder is on the menu, too.

The Clam Bar, 3914 Brewerton Road, North Syracuse. (315) 458-1662, How about blackened grouper, pan-seared tuna steak or charbroiled Cajun mahi mahi as an alternative to fried haddock? The Clam Bar, a fixture on Route 11, offers a boatload of seafood items, plus specials, for lunch and dinner.

Daniel’s Grill, 69 North St., Marcellus. (315) 673-1656, A friend who works at this casual restaurant recommends the blackened grouper sandwich and suggests adding Cajun grouper to the spinach salad with goat cheese, red onions, red grapes and raspberry dressing. The menu also features broiled haddock with herb crumb topping, house-made lobster ravioli and Portuguese-style shrimp over linguini.

Kyoko Japanese Restaurant, 111 Brooklea Drive, Fayetteville. (315) 637-9000. Friends recommend the shrimp teriyaki, salmon teriyaki, composed seafood salad (fish, shrimp, seaweed salad, asparagus and cucumber) and say the sushi is the “best sushi ever.”

Riley’s, 312 Park St. (315) 471-7111, Friday is FRY-DAY at Riley’s, but you’ll also find un-fried seafood specials on the hand-printed menu, like a Maine lobster roll on a soft roll (or in a bibb lettuce wrap), a salad with chargrilled salmon over spinach and arugula, with roasted tomatoes and a tomato vinaigrette; and chargrilled swordfish skewer with blueberry lime chili sauce.

Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub and Restaurant, 301 W. Fayette St. (315) 424-1974, Seafood specials are offered every Thursday and Friday as part of the annual Festival of Fishes, which continues through April 14. You’ll find specials such as Maine lobster roll, and Irish-inspired seafood like littleneck clams steamed with Guinness and poblano peppers.

Pronto Joey’s, 6594 Thompson Road North, East Syracuse. (315) 432-0620, Fish with an Italian accent at the casual (upstairs) restaurant includes Tuscan haddock (baked haddock with a lemon, butter and white wine sauce, topped with seasoned breadcrumbs and Asiago cheese and served over escarole and cannellini beans) and haddock Parmigiana (haddock simmered in plum tomato-basil sauce).

Fins and Tails Gourmet Seafood Store, 3012 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt. (315) 446-5417. Let’s not forget those who prefer to cook their own haddock, salmon, tuna, shrimp, scallops, mussels and oysters. Fins and Tails has a bountiful case of fresh fish and shellfish and a prepared foods case with items like crab cakes, seafood pasta salad, cooked shrimp and cocktail sauce, New England clam chowder, lobster quiche … the list goes on.

Fish Friar Relocates Downtown

As of Wednesday, March 29, the Fish Friar might be in a “soft open” stage in downtown Syracuse. The casual eat-in and takeout restaurant, described as “an elevated and elegant spin on the fish fry,” recently shuttered its Milton Avenue location in Solvay. Now the business is taking up residence in the Courier Building, 239 E. Genesee St., near City Hall, in the space formerly occupied by L’Adour Restaurant Francais.

In an email last week, bar manager Derek Spanfelner said the opening was delayed because the restaurant is awaiting its license to serve craft beer and wine.

The Fish Friar’s menu features fried and broiled haddock sandwiches and plates, fried shrimp, sautéed shrimp, shrimp cocktail, a shrimp po’boy sandwich and specialties like the Friar’s lobster roll, served two ways (hot or cold). The menu also lists several salads, including lobster and greens and a shrimp Caesar, and one dessert, peanut butter pie. For information, call (315) 468-3474 or visit

Margaret McCormick is a freelance writer and editor in Syracuse. She blogs about food at Follow her on Twitter, connect on Facebook or email her at [email protected].

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