Fish Fry Friday: Elks Lodge 339 (Northside)

Name: Elks Lodge 339

Date: April 14, 2017

Time We Ate: 5:30 PM

Random review of #fishburgh adventures during Lent. Find a fish fry on this Google maps collection. You can also follow them on Facebook and find tons of reviews and suggestions. Here is our general criteria:

In review, the factors we assess or review include:

  • Location/directions/parking/signage
  • Atmosphere/Volunteer Friendliness/Engagement
  • Accessibility
  • Menu: variety, portions, taste and price
  • LGBTQ cultural competency
  • Ecofactors such as reusable/disposable items, recycling bins, takeout containers

This is one of the fish fries that pretty much was exactly like last year.

It a gorgeous building.

We arrived on the early side and walked right through into the dining room. The menu was limited, but fine – fish sandwiches, grilled cheese with sides of coleslaw or stewed tomatoes or macaroni and cheese. Fries were also available. Drinks could be purchased at the bar. Easy peasy.

I only realized this morning that we both ordered the exact same thing last year – Laura had small fish sandwich and I had the grilled cheese, both of us opting for cole slaw and mac & cheese. It was cash only, but we had anticipated this. I sense that by Good Friday, we are both on rote mode.

We had our choice of seats so I found a nice nook while Ledcat went to get pop from the bar. We had about a fiften minute wait because we had arrived early, but that was fine. The radio was tuned to a 3WS type oldies station. The crowd was slightly older than us (at least me) so I was amused watching a group of white older men at the bar singing along and grooving to Def Leppard.

The food arrived pretty quickly in fact. And much like last year, we thought the fish was delicious and had an excellent batter. The coleslaw was good, pretty darn good actually. And we were divided on the mac & cheese. Ledcat liked it; I thought it was a little too pasty and lacking in creaminess.

Laura tried the fish sandwich

I also noticed something odd – my can of ginger ale was tasteless. Laura sipped it to back me up and agreed. It was almost as if it had been frozen at some point. It wasn’t a big deal, but I do wonder how & why a can of pop can lack actual flavor.

Grilled cheese for me

The Elks club is pretty nice in a retro/throwback sort of way. It is like returning to the restaurants my parents dragged us to in 1978, minus the smoky haze. There’s a lot of seating and a stage where I presume the infamous Banjo Night folks perform. Various paintings of elk decorated the wall along with a patriotic “God Bless America” sign and a stuffed doll dress like Santa Claus.

We did run into a former neighbor and had the chance to visit with her which was very nice. I saw a few people that I vaguely recognized (I’m so terrible with names/faces) and for the most part, folks were pleasant and helpful.

I do have to point out that no one asked us if we were members. They didn’t hand us a flyer about upcoming events or ask us for our email addresses. This is a pretty consistent missed opportunity at every single fish fry we visit – there’s zero attempt to engage customers in the organization/community. But we’ll address that in our fish fry wrap up later this week.

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Our plates were actually paper versus styrofoam and the tableware was reusable. Takeout was in styrofoam and the drinks were served in plastic cups. Those cups are recyclable, but there was no evidence of recycling efforts. That might happen behind the scenes. I’m always optimistic that people recycle.

I was glad to see that the Elks continue their service work supporting the Northside Food Pantry.

There were no MAGA hats, but there was also no openly affirming component for LGBTQ folks. We briefly discussed, as we always do, whether we join but I have to admit that while I appreciate the role of the fraternal group and have first hand knowledge of the good work that they do, it doesn’t feel like a space where I am wanted as a queer woman. I feel welcomed as a visitor, but there’s never a sense that I should stay for a really long time.

Once again, I failed to ask about accessibility (the front entrance is a serious set of stairs) but I did take a look at the website and read that recent renovations have made the space accessible.

Pros: delicious fish, less styrofoam, tasty coleslaw, Ledcat approved mac and cheese, good prices

Cons: no evidence of recycling, doesn’t take credit/debit cards, limited menu, Sue disliked mac and cheese, weird tasting ginger ale

Well this is our final fish fry review for 2017. We’ll follow up during Easter Week with a summary post including all of our recommendations and our ‘best of’ awards based on solely on our opinions.


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