DeRushaEats: Why Isn't This a Fish Fry Town?

I just got back from a visit to Milwaukee—home of Usingers Sausage, Miller Beer, and Friday Fish Fry. But Minnesotans and Wisconsinites aren’t all that different, are we? Why don’t we have a culture of fish fry?

Sure, during Lent we see Minnesota restaurants with fish fry, but that’s only about one month a year. I was talking with chef Tyge Nelson at The Inn, and he was talking about trying to reinvent the fish fry on his menu. (He does a $16 beer-battered white fish with a curry and malted fries.)

“I’m from Stillwater, and we don’t even have regular fish fries,” he said. Which is crazy, since from most homes in Stillwater—to channel Sarah Palin—you can see Wisconsin.

I had a fish fry at Stonefly Brewing Company in Milwaukee, where they make a really nice Stout and a passable Pale Ale (although the Pale Ale has a great name—”Moustache Ride Pale Ale”).

They offered tempura-battered smelt, beer-battered cod, and beer-battered bluegill. The smelt was really fishy, but quite nice with the tempura. The cod was light and delicious. It came with a great homemade coleslaw.

I want this every Friday night in Minneapolis. A group in Northeast Minneapolis chronicled their Lenten fish fry quest last year, but I want to eat fish fries in the summer and the fall and the winter! Help me restauranteurs!

And what am I missing? Who does the best Friday fish fry in Minnesota?