St. Mary's Fish Fry frequently asked questions

Things you should know!

1. Why are we talking about doing a fish fry?

Income in the parish has decreased, and the bills have not. We need to find a way to supplement the parish’s income during these tough economic times.

2. What are the initial startup costs?

There will be a substantial, one-time cost that will go along with the fish fry. We need more cooler and freezer space, and a walk-in system is being looked at. The current freezers are packed with school lunch supplies, and the chest-style of freezer is very difficult to remove products from. The new walk-in system would benefit the school lunch program, the parish festival, funeral dinners, pancake breakfasts, and any other food function that takes place in the church basement.

We will sell the freezers and refrigerators we have down there, and will be increasing our energy efficiency as well as our use of space. We also need to purchase and install fryers along with a fire-suppression and ventilation system. We will need some heat lamps and pans as well. The estimate on this cost is about $25,000. The KCs are doing a $10,000 matching fund for the startup costs, and we have had other donations as well. Currently we have about $15,000 in our startup fund!

3. How can everyone access the fish fry if it is held in the church basement?

The plan is to do two seatings. One will be an “early-bird seating” which will be held in the school gym from 4:30-5:30 p.m. That way anyone will have easy access to a great meal! The second seating will run from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. in the church basement. We will also have a carry out option running from 5:00 – 7:30 through the Main Street door.

4. What is the menu?

Deep-fried haddock, a choice of baked potato or hash-brown casserole, cheesy biscuits, coleslaw, applesauce, and choice of milk, water, or coffee. Bars will be provided for dessert.

5. What is the cost?

$10 for those 12 and up; $5 for ages 5 – 11; 4 and under $1.

6. Will it be all you can eat?

That is still being determined at the present time.

7. When will these fish frys occur?

We plan to hold them on the 3rd Friday of the months of Sept, Oct, Nov, Feb, March, April, and May. Our first one will be a parish-only “dress rehearsal” and we are hoping to have this on Friday, February 19, 2010, which is the first Friday in Lent. If all goes well, we hope to open it up to the public on March 19.

8. Why a fish fry?

There are several area parishes who host extremely successful fish fries. The most well known one is in Plain on the first Friday of the month. Other communities include Dodgeville, Elroy, and Baraboo to name a few. These have proven records of success…bringing in a profit upwards of $20,000 in a single year! Also…it can provide an opportunity for us to work together as a parish family to make our parish stronger!

9. Will we be hurting our local businesses?

Any fundraising event can have an impact on local businesses…positive or negative. This fish fry will be held only once per month for 7 months out of the year. We also anticipate bringing customers from outlying communities into Richland Center 7 times a year. They will, hopefully, make purchases at area businesses while they are in town.

10. What is the biggest concern?

Providing enough labor!!! This is crucial to the success of the fish fry. We need the commitment and support of the school and parish working together to pull this off. In order to make this a success, we need 2 things…good food and good service. We can only do that with a strong and dedicated labor force.

11. How many people do you need to work each fish fry?

We will need 70-80 people every fish fry week to make this work smoothly. Some of these people will work on different days. We will need to have things done on Tues (fish delivery), Wed, Thurs and, of course, Friday. Some of these tasks require more time than others. If we get strong support from the school and parish, we can rotate workers so that people do not have to work every fish fry.