Name: Church of The Assumption
Date: Friday, April 4, 2014
Time We Ate: 5:15 PM
Location: Bellevue (45 North Sprague Street)
We selected Assumption (as it’s known) based on proximity to our home, several recommendation and the menu items.
Finding this church wasn’t exactly easy, but not exactly difficult. And while the parish website was informative, it could provide more specifics on things like “park across the street, the parish hall is behind the sanctuary” type information. It took us about 15 minutes during Friday rush hour to drive down 65 and up into Bellevue, a lovely suburb of Pittsburgh. The church has a good-sized lot across the street so we found a spot quickly and walked over to parish hall which is attached to the back of the church.
There were separate lines for takeout and dine-in so we were able to walk right up to the table and order. The gruff sort of man who took our order was a bit off-putting to me because he didn’t seem the slightest bit interested in showing us the menu or discussing options. We ordered and were directed to an adult who would seat us! Bingo! No pun intended – this is exactly the concern I’ve had at other fish fries, finding a seat that is. Assumption had conscripted dozens of young men and women from a nearby Catholic school to serve as hosts, servers, bussers and more. And it really made a difference.
The hall itself is huge and we were escorted to our seats where we found a placemat advertising the church (good outreach) and actual silverware, not disposable. We also saw our friend Lilian who lives nearby and visited with her a bit. I have to give a special mention to the seats – the most comfortable folding chairs I’ve ever used. And where more traditional metal chairs were set out, they each had a nice little cushion. Nice touch, Assumption.
It was less than ten minutes wait for our meals. Our server brought us our drink of choice (water, lemonade, iced tea, coffee) and we dug in. We both ordered fish sandwiches. I could not look another french fry in the eye so I opted for haluski and applesauce while Ledcat tried the macaroni and cheese with applesauce. The sandwiches were huge. The portions of the side dishes were also huge. The haluski was fine and the mac and cheese was the best we’ve had yet, but still not excellent. Dinner was $18 which is just $1 more than the other spaces, but the service definitely made up for the increase. Note: we’ve spent a few dollars more at other locations because we ordered pierogies or another “side.”
Condiments were available at the table. Our server checked back in with us several times, refilling our water and so forth. They cleared our plates and we no sooner than looked around the room (for the bathroom, the dessert table, etc) than someone was coming to inquire if we needed anything.
On a down side, no other diners talked with us at all. The people near us kept to themselves. It definitely felt cordial and helpful, but not necessarily engaging. The crowd was the most diverse we had encountered – there were a lot more families present, a much larger contingent of youth volunteering and more racial diversity than we’ve ever encountered.
Pros: service, generous portions, variety in the menu, parking and hours, did not run out of any items
Cons: need a little more details on parking/location of the hall, gruff man at front desk
Special Note: Assumption is the best parish fish fry to date.
Trivia: On our way out, we ran into candidate for State House Tom Michalow and chatted with him a bit. He is the first elected official/candidate we’ve *ever* run into at a fish fry. Good for him.
Next week is the last Friday for a fish fry (Good Friday is the following week.) Our plan is to attend the Judah Fellowship fish fry on the Northside. I am particularly excited about two menu items – shrimp poboy (remember, I lived in Louisiana for three years) and cornbread. I’m about done with fried seafood for a long while.