The Lenten Season: Fish Frys and the Best Fish Sandwiches in Champaign-Urbana and Beyond
Ash Wednesday — Feb. 17 — marks the beginning of the Lenten season, and Lent means FISH! Some Christians abstain from meat during the entire 40 days of Lent; others avoid meat just on Fridays. Fish has become the go-to meat alternative for Lent … or perhaps you just like fish. Whatever your tradition, we are here to help you find the best Fish Fry events and fish sandwiches in and around Champaign-Urbana. Special thanks to all our readers who helped us crowd source this list.
Black Dog Smoke & Ale House, 320 N. Chestnut St., Champaign: Black Dog features both smoked salmon and smoked catfish on their regular menu. as sandwiches, platters or on a salad. They have also recently added a smoked shrimp cocktail appetizer to their menu.
Boomerangs Bar and Grill, 1309 E. Washington St., Urbana: Boomerangs has “awesome fish sandwiches on Fridays!” says one reader. “We love Fish Fry Fridays at Boomerangs.”
Bunny’s Tavern, 119 W. Water St., Urbana: Features three fish sandwiches on Fridays: beer-battered walleye, dry-battered or grilled cod, blackened salmon.
Dish Passionate Cuisine, 45 E. University Ave., Champaign: Dish Passionate Cuisine will be offering fish sandwiches at least through Lent and probably into the summer, per the owner. It will be a fried cod sandwich with lettuce, tomato, red onion, tartar sauce and pickles and it will come with house-made chips and a caramel Illini bar. Call 217-390-4726 or visit the website to order.
Esquire Lounge, 106 N. Walnut St., Champaign: “Esquire has a fantastic Friday Fish (cod) sandwich available every Friday, not just during Lent but all year.”
Hamilton Walker’s, 201 N. Neil St., Champaign: Hamilton Walker’s will be offering fish & chips for the fish fry dinner. This includes wild cod with a house made panko breading, house steak fries, lemon, tartar sauce and ketchup. They will also be featuring grilled Atlantic salmon, another Lenten fish special. This includes a grilled salmon filet with a sweet dijon glaze, warm bacon dressed red potatoes and spinach. They also feature seafood options on the regular dinner menu. Specials will be offered Wednesday-Sunday 4-8 p.m. for dine-in as well as takeout.
Legends, 522 E. Green St., Champaign: This campus standby has been serving up one of the best fish sandwiches in town for years. The award-winning (and alumni favorite!) fish sandwich is served every Friday and Saturday throughout the year. Fun fact — Legends is located at the site of the former DeLuxe Billiards, which served a fish sandwich that lives on only in … wait for it … legend.
Michaels’ Catering, 720 S. Neil St., Champaign: Michaels will be offering dinners delivered or picked up every Friday during Lent. They will be featuring several seafood entrees, Maryland crab cakes with remoulade, shrimp scampi, seasoned salmon filet and a special seared sea bass. Dinners include salad, entrée, and dessert. Order on their website or by calling 217-351-2500.
Pia’s Sports Pub, 1609 W. Springfield Ave, Champaign: Icelandic codfish sandwiches are served only on Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m for dine in or carry out. Their fish is deep-fried in Pia’s secret beer batter and served with slaw and chips.
Seven Saints, 32 E. Chester St., Champaign: “We love Seven Saints salmon sliders and their summer salmon salad!”
Shark Grill, 1511 N. Bowman Ave., Danville: Shark Grill “is worth the drive for some fish,” says one reader.
Sun Singer Restaurant, 1115 W. Windsor Rd., Champaign: Sun Singer is planning to offer a fish sandwich on its Friday lunch menu throughout Lent. They also offer fish options as a regular staple on their dinner menu daily. Options are available for dine-in or carryout.
Urbana Garden Family Restaurant, 810 W. Killarney St., Urbana: Urbana Garden Family Restaurant features all-you-can-eat fried walleye every Friday, not to mention their tilapia, beer battered cod, and other daily specials.
Watson’s Shack and Rail, 211 N. Neil St., Champaign: Watson’s carries their Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich and Shrimp Po’Boy as a staple on their menu. The Nashville Hot Fish sandwich features fried perch with Nashville hot dip on a hoagie roll. Pair this with their signature coleslaw, and you’re good to go.
Church Fish Fry Options:
Holy Cross Catholic Church, 405 W. Clark St., Champaign: Holy Cross will feature a drive through fish fry on Feb. 26 from 4-6 p.m. Alaskan pollack, macaroni and cheese, green beans, slaw, and corn bread will be available. For more information, call (217) 352-8748.
St. Patrick Catholic Church, 708 W. Main St., Urbana: Lenten fish dinners will be available for curbside pick up this year. Dinners feature fried fish sandwich or baked fish tacos. Each meal includes sides and dessert. A children’s menu is also available. The first night for the fish dinners will be Feb. 19. Pre-order your meal by texting 217-649-2332. Walk up meals are available.
Know of a fish fry or restaurant serving fish entrees/specials that we should include? Email us and we will update our listing.