Michigan Snubbed by ‘America’s Best Fish Fry’ List

The Snub

Michigan, renowned for its abundant freshwater lakes and fish fry tradition, recently found itself absent from the prestigious ‘America’s Best Fish Fry’ list. This exclusion has triggered a surge of disbelief and resentment among the residents of the Great Lakes State.

The History of Fish Fries

Fish fries have historical ties to the Catholic Church, which encourages members to refrain from consuming meat on Fridays during Lent. In the 1860s, German and Polish Catholic immigrants, settling in Milwaukee, initiated the Friday fish fry tradition, a practice that also took root in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

During prohibition, fish fries gained popularity as many illicit bars and pubs utilized serving fish to legitimize their operations. Additionally, in the era of slavery, workers would conclude their Saturdays early, engage in fishing, and return for a communal fish fry—a tradition passed down through generations.

The Great Lakes State’s Fish Fry Culture

Michigan, surrounded by the Great Lakes, boasts some of the nation’s finest fish fries. From the Elks Lodge to the Moose Lodge, the Knights of Columbus, and numerous churches statewide, Michigan offers a diverse array of delectable fish fries.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in particular, is renowned for its local mom-and-pop restaurants serving freshly caught fish. The exclusion of these establishments from the list has been widely deemed a great injustice.

West Michigan’s Fish Fries

West Michigan proudly features a plethora of top-notch fish fries, possibly utilizing fish sourced from the Grand River or nearby Lake Michigan. Here are some noteworthy fish fry venues in West Michigan:

  • Fat Man’s Fish Fry in Grand Rapids
  • Sutherne Fish Fry in Grand Rapids
  • Great White Fish Chicken in Grand Rapids
  • Birch Lodge in Grand Rapids
  • The Grand Rapids Fishery in Wyoming
  • Embassy Bar & Grill in West Olive
  • McKenna’s Village Restaurant in Lakeview
  • Mill Creek Tavern in Comstock Park
  • Sanitary Fish & Marketplace in Grand Rapids
  • Remus Tavern in Remus


The surprising omission of Michigan from the ‘America’s Best Fish Fry’ list has brought attention to the state’s vibrant fish fry culture and longstanding traditions.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, experiencing Michigan’s fish fries is a culinary adventure that should not be overlooked.


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