Lists come out all the time with which state has the best this or that but to leave Michigan off "America's Best Fish Fry" list is unbelievable and unacceptable.

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History of the Fish Fry

German and Polish Catholic immigrants settled in Milwaukee in the 1860s and began the tradition of the Friday fish fry. You can say the same for Grand Rapids, Michigan as well.

Fish fries have deep roots in the Catholic Church which has to do with Lent (the 40 days leading up to Easter) where the church asks its members to hold off on eating meat on Friday.

Fish fries were also a big deal during prohibition because many illegal bars and pubs used serving fish as a way to legitimize their business and to keep them open.

During the time of slavery, many of the workers would get done early on Saturdays then go fishing and would come back for a fish fry that would be passed down to later generations. You can also thank these folks for making coleslaw and hush puppies as sides for the fish fry.

How Can The Great Lakes State Get Snubbed From America's Best Fish Fry List?

A website by the name of Mashed put out a list of the top 16 absolute best fish fries in the United States. I thought it made sense that Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Orleans, and even New York were on the list but to leave off the state that is surrounded by the Great Lakes is mind-blowing.

I have experienced some of the best fish fries ever at the Elks Lodge, the Moose Lodge, the Knights of Columbus, and several churches all across Michigan. To think someone in Texas can fry a walleye or a perch better than anyone in Michigan is ridiculous. Where do you think Texans get their walleye from in the first place?

To leave Michigan's Upper Peninsula off this list is a travesty. I would put up any of the mom-and-pop little hole-in-the-walls in any town in the U.P. up against any fish fry in New York. A lot of the fish you get at those places were caught down the road from the restaurants.

To think that New Orleans is the only place that can fry catfish is insane and all the southern states should be ticked off about being left off the list as well.

West Michigan Has Some of America's Best Fish Fries

West Michigan has plenty of quality fish fries and some of those fish may even come from the Grand River or nearby Lake Michigan. Below is a list of great West Michigan fish fry locations:

  • Fat Man's Fish Fry in Grand Rapids
  • Sutherne Fish Fry in Grand Rapids
  • Great White Fish Chicken in Grand Rapids
  • Birch Lodge in Grand Rapids
  • The Grand Rapids Fishery in Wyoming
  • Embassy Bar & Grill in West Olive
  • McKenna's Village Restaurant in Lakeview
  • Mill Creek Tavern in Comstock Park
  • Sanitary Fish & Marketplace in Grand Rapids
  • Remus Tavern in Remus

Let's not forget all the Catholic Churches, Elks Lodges, Moose Lodges, and the Knights of Columbus locations that offer some amazing fish fries every year.

Michigan Fishing: 1900-1943

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Gallery Credit: Jolana Miller

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