Fish Fry Friday: Judah Fellowship (Hill District)

Welcome back to Fish Fry Fridays, 2017 Edition! Hard to believe Lent is almost over,

Name: Judah Fellowship Christian Church

Pittsburgh Fish Fry
Fish Fry Map Logo

Date: March 31, 2017

Time We Ate: 5:45 PM

Random review of #fishburgh adventures during Lent. Find a fish fry on this map! 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 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, recyling, etc

Judah Fellowshop only has one fish fry during the Lenten season. We’ve found it to be a tasty event so we add it to our calendar and swing by each year.

Judah Fellowship is an LGBTQ affirming Christian faith community, billing itself “A Different Church for a Diverse People.” They are radically involved in the community, to the extent that they cancelled worship services to participate in the Trans Day of Visibility gathering this past Saturday evening. Their pastor Shanea Leonard is the ONLY Fish Fry Friday pastor to contribute to the AMPLIFY project.

We haven’t been to this location in the Hill District yet so we had a bit of a challenge finding the venue, not at all helped by the rain and cold and my general crabbiness at spending 45 minutest to get from home to Laura’s workplace. But find it we did and after circling the block, we found pretty convenient street space to park.  Some call it the Upper Hill, some call it Schenley Heights.

Reverend Shanea is taking orders!

We happened to catch sight of people going in and out the lower entrance so it was easy to find the door. As we entered the hall, we saw tables set up with place settings and a longer table to place orders near the kitchen. The menu was simple so the cashiers simply walked us through it – fish sandwich with one side, fish or shrimp dinner with two sides, sides were green beans, mac and cheese, coleslaw and a can of pop or bottle of water was included in the price. Dessert was available for $1.00.

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Our food was ready lickety split. The fish was moist and tender with a the appropriate sized bun (those oversized pieces are so wasteful.) The shrimp were nicely cooked and crisp, but still tender. I had a piece of homemade cornbread with my meal – it was delicious.
We had coleslaw and the mac and cheese are our sides. The coleslaw was really good. Right up there with Assumption Parish in Bellevue, but Assumption still pulls it out.

The mac and cheese? Oh, this I wait for all year long. Pastor Shanea Leonard makes it herself and it is a baked, cheesy, oozing glorious dish. Trying to eat like a lady becomes secondary to the need to eat this side before some mac and cheese napper sneaks up to steal my portion. It is like Patti Labelle’s recipe only I didn’t have to make it and its a fundraiser which makes it extra Godly.

It literally makes me want to come to church so I can be near people who appreciate the goodness of this mac and cheese. They understand the difference between slopping food on my plate for a good cause and feeding people. I understand the difference between spending $20 to support a nice cause wrapped up in my Catholic sentimentality and spending $20 to support a group of people cancelling services to participate in vigil for trans women of color.

Everything tastes better when it’s immersed in actual love and Love.

But back to the review. The group does rely heavily on styrofoam which is one of the indicators that I dislike because it flies in the face of being stewards of the Earth. The cans and bottles could be recycled, but I did not see a recycling bin. As always, this could just be out of sight. We take our bottles home with us and recycle them ourselves.

People were very nice to us, if a bit on the quiet side. We spoke with Reverend Leonard a bit, but she was obviously busy. We saw familiar faces which never happens at the usual fish fries. People did check on our table, made sure we had the things we needed and so forth so in terms of hospitality, they do a nice job.

The hall was accessible, but I had to go up and down stairs to use the bathroom. Once again, I forgot to ask if they had accessible facilities.

They had about 30 minutes to go and hoped to sell out before the evening ended. The rain was definitely a hindrance.

Pros: mac and cheese, menu tasty and well-priced, LGBTQ affirming, fast service and hot food

Cons: eco-factors, lack of signage and no information on website/FB page about parking, directions, etc. Unsure about accessibility. Also, need more opportunities to access this mac and cheese.

I strongly urge you to follow Judah Fellowship on Facebook so you can keep informed of both their good works and their good food.

Only two Fridays left. Our plan is to head to Saint Maximilian in Homestead and then wrap up the year somewhere like the Elks or maybe the Swissvale Firehall on Good Friday.



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