Virgil church a popular spot for Lenten fish frys

  • Friday night fish frys are a popular choice in the Fox Valley during Lent.

      Friday night fish frys are a popular choice in the Fox Valley during Lent. JOE LEWNARD PHOTO | Staff Photographer

Posted2/16/2016 1:00 AM

Saints Peter and Paul Church in Virgil must be doing something right at its Lenten Friday night fish frys.

"We have a very good following, with people coming from all over the place," said Kathy Volkening, who has been organizing the fish frys at the church for 22 years.


The fish lovers come during Lent from as far away as Crystal Lake and Sycamore, and all points in between.

"And, of course, we get a lot of people from Geneva, Batavia, St. Charles and Elburn," Volkening said.

It's that time of year, when Catholics observe the Lenten season by staying away from meat on Fridays. That means area fish frys become a favorite gathering place to kick off the weekend.

When the crowds come, it is good for an event organizer to have some helping hands.

"We put out signup sheets and ask people to step forward to fill various spots," Volkening said. "The guys come in after work to fry the fish, and kids, moms and dads are wiping tables and cleaning the hall as people eat."

The church is at 5N939 Meredith Road and tickets cost $11 for the fish fry; $14 if adding shrimp. Kids meals and prices are offered. The fish fry is held from 5 to 8 p.m. each Friday through March 18.

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Volkening points to Feb. 26 as a special night for "Serbian Cod."

That's when a parishioner makes a special sauce "with tomatoes, peppers and onions and then smothers the cod in it," she added.

My mouth is watering over that one.

No more fish?:

Those who make Friday night fish frys part of their weekly routine at this time of year may find that a few places they enjoyed in the past no longer are in the fried-fish game.

Riverview Banquets in Batavia is no longer hosting a Knights of Columbus fish fry during Lent, and Geneva American Legion Post no longer lists a weekly fish fry on its calendar of events.

Some fried chicken

It's been nearly a year to the day since I spoke with Preservation Bread & Wine owner Lawrence Colburn about his concept for a "food truck without wheels" in the building next door that he bought to expand his business. In the recent past, that building housed a Kernel Fabyan popcorn shop and then Smuzi, offering natural foods and drinks.


But Colburn has his concept in place with "Chicken Shack," a fried chicken operation he hopes to open at that 511 S. Third St. location in mid-March. He wants to do work on the alley between his shops and had previously talked about a side window for customers to pick up their food, thus giving it that "food truck" look and feel.

Beauty and caution

St. Charles architect Mike Dixon appears to be enjoying his current Peace Corps mission in Prizren, Kosovo, sending photos and comments about how beautiful the city and country are and the great view he has of Pashrik Mountain on the border of Albania.

Even though he said it was a false report, there were some rumblings that an attempt was made to kidnap a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in that region.

He's safe and having a great time, but even the false report reminds us that Americans abroad, especially those in charitable roles and interacting in public places all of the time, have to remain aware of their surroundings.

Expand that business

Ristorante Chianti in Geneva looks to be moving along nicely on its expansion into an adjoining retail space once occupied by a jewelry store along Third Street.

The Italian restaurant has signs on the door in that area stating a new banquet facility is coming soon.

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