Is there anything more “Wisconsin” than the Friday fish fry? No, no there is not. The weekly ritual of trekking out to your favorite supper club and ordering a plate of deep-fried cod—with the state-mandated sides of coleslaw and rye bread—is so ingrained in Wisconsin culture that it’s weird to think that other folks don’t do it. Toss in an Old Fashioned and maybe some clam chowder, and you’ve got a tradition so potent that it inspires some people to, oh, we don’t know, go out for fish for nearly 200 Fridays in a row (and counting).
Speaking of Milwaukee Record‘s own Caleb Westphal (who hasn’t missed a Friday fish fry since 2013, and who has been writing about his adventures here), he appears in an upcoming documentary on the subject, We’re Here For A Fish Fry. Directed by Milwaukee filmmaker Ron Faiola, the 56-minute doc is a follow-up to Faiola’s 2009 film, Fish Fry Night Milwaukee, and explores the Wisconsin ritual from the peak season of Lent to the summer. “We have some grilled salmon today,” says a server in the film. “We also have a pork rib eye.” A man Madison fish fry blogger Mike Seidel politely shakes his head: “We’re here for a fish fry.” Damn straight.
The film—narrated by WMSE’s Dewey Gill—is set to premiere in the main room of the Oriental Theatre Thursday, October 26 at 7 p.m. Advance tickets can be purchased here. Until then, bust out the tartar sauce and get a taste below.