Tips from the Ultimate Pittsburgh Fish Fry Champion, St. Alphonsus in Wexford

Try out the 2017 champion, and nominate this year’s contenders.

St. Alphonsus fish fry organizers Mike Cuddy and Frank McSorley accept the trophy.

St. Alphonsus fish fry organizers Mike Cuddy and Frank McSorley accept the trophy.

Jasmine Goldband / The Incline
MJ Slaby

As the reigning champs of the Ultimate Pittsburgh Fish Fry, St. Alphonsus Catholic Church of Wexford won’t be in the 2018 bracket.

And they had some thoughts about why that might be. Just take a look at the church and Blessed Francis Seelos Academy’s newsletter:

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“We were saddened that we can’t compete,” Mike Cuddy, the fish fry co-chair, told The Incline. But like the newsletter said, it’s a compliment. Not only does St. Alphonsus plan to use their title this year, the trophy will be on display in the dining room, he said.

The Incline is currently collecting nominations for the 2018 Ultimate Pittsburgh Fish Fry Bracket. Nominate here by 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5.

So what is the secret to winning the Ultimate Pittsburgh Fish Fry crown? Cuddy isn’t giving away everything, but he did offer this advice:

  1. Get the word out. Communicate on multiple fronts, Cuddy said. Last year, new people came in for the first time on the last fish fry of the year because St. Alphonsus had been named Ultimate Fish Fry, he said.
  2. Stay disciplined. The dining experience should be consistent and high quality, Cuddy said, adding that the church “buys where the restaurants buy and focuses on the quality.”
  3. Volunteers = important. More than 100 volunteers are needed to pull off the fish fry each week during Lent and as much as guests need to have a great dining experience, the volunteers need a good experience, too. So they play music and dance in the kitchen, making it a social event for volunteers, too.

If you go:

Looking to do research on last year’s winner to find your 2018 favorite?

St. Alphonsus starts its fish fry on Feb. 14, Ash Wednesday, with takeout meals only and offers both takeout and dine-in on every Friday in Lent, including Good Friday, which is March 30.

There will be a few changes this year to make the fish fry more welcoming, especially if people have never been before, Cuddy said. Expect more lighting and parking lot attendants, as well as door greeters to the separate entrances for dine-in and carry-out. There will also be better accessibility to the handicap entrance.

And for the menu, there will likely be an addition — fish tacos. It’s still in the recipe stage for now, Cuddy said.

St. Alphonsus
201 Church Road (Wexford)

  • Ash Wednesday carryout is 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Cost is $8.
  • Friday meals are 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. during Lent, except for Good Friday (March 30) which is 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Adult dinners are $10 and children’s meals are $2.