Date: Friday March 21, 2013
Time We Ate: 6:30 PM (check the website for hours)
Location: Coraopolis Elks Lodge #1090 1150 Stoops Ferry Road, Coraopolis
We selected this location because Laura’s childhood friend, Jeanette, is a member and invited us. They are open until 7:30 which was a plus for us as Laura had a late afternoon work commitment. It took us about 20 minutes to get to the location, but they did have a nice sized sign and plenty of parking spaces in the parking lot.
The Elks serve a monthly fish fry dinner on a year round basis as both a social/recreational event and a small fundraiser. During Lent, they are open every Friday and serve “extra” dishes which are donated by members. When we arrived, they had run out of shrimp (irony considering last week) but everything else was in plentiful supply. The menu included fried and baked fish, clams, oysters, chicken with all sorts of sides – fries, mac and cheese, cole slaw, provolone sticks, breaded mushrooms and cabbage with noodles.
Ledcat opted for a fish sandwich with fries. I decided to try the clams and ordered the mac and cheese (we usually share side dishes.) We also ordered some “comfort food” aka cheese sticks (hey, I had a rough afternoon) and I opted for water while Laura ordered a Coke. The fish was good – large enough for two so Ledcat brough half home to have another sandwich this weekend. It was flaky and the batter was not overpowering. The clams were fine – a generous portion. The fries were good and also enough to share – we both tasted the mac and cheese, but we brought it home. It was just okay; I think I’m pretty picky about this dish because I seem to constantly be disappointed. The cheese sticks were cheese sticks. Needless to say, we were stuffed and we had two containers of food to take home. Plus, we tried dessert – but I’ll get to that in a minute.
The space is a large event room. Our friend escorted us to a table and one of the members waited on us. We were able to get water, coffee, tea and hot chocolate from a table set up along the side and to go into the bar to get a soft drink if chose. The food was served pretty quickly and was warm. The room was about half filled when we arrived and I was pleased to see so many young people – at least a dozen. Some were volunteering, others were eating and visiting with one another. Dinner was about $18, plus the money we spent on dessert and a donation to the charity. Considering we got two lunches out of the leftover plus a little extra dessert they sent our way … that’s a pretty good price per meal.
Ledcat toured the building – it is a refurbished farmhouse. I could not go because they permit smoking in the bar (which houses the stairs.) That was the only drawback to the space – the smoking, but I understand it is a fraternal group and people want to smoke. It didn’t intrude into the common areas, but I backed away quickly because once the smell gets in my head, I’m done. I only mention because I know some people are even more sensitive than me so it is important to know.
The thing that impressed me the most – their children’s charity. It is called the Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Program. They provide nursing and case management care to children with disabilities across the state. It is a program close to our friend’s heart – she makes the deserts and the sales go directly to that fund (so of course we had some.) The state has a yearly goal that each member contribute $10.00 to fund this project. I was very impressed with this investment.
The Elks have all sorts of social activities and events – lots of dinners and chances to socialize and the much-beloved “cornhole” competitions. They do a lot of good work for veterans. We’ve been to an Elks fish fry on the Northside. The food was also good, but a much more limited menu and people were not as sociable.
Pro’s: diverse menu, portion size, hours, parking, and cost
Con’s: smoking in the building
You can really tell that these folks run monthly events from details as small as the table cloths to the tasty, well-prepared food. You would not go wrong to stop in to this Elks lodge for a fish dinner or probably any dinner (Ledcat was there for a cheese steak dinner last year and thought it was great.) Be sure to donate a dollar to the dessert table even if you don’t partake so you can support that cause.
Trivia: Mayor Peduto is an Elk.