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Serving up fish fries in the Old First Ward

Fish Fry Friday at Gene McCarthy's is even more popular during pandemic
Posted at 5:56 AM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 05:56:14-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Over the past few weeks, we've visited eight different fish fry spots in WNY, the owner at the final fish fry we visited says we saved the best for last.

During a typical year, fish fry Fridays at Gene McCarthys in Buffalo's Old First Ward are usually packed shoulder to shoulder with people trying to get an order.

One year they got so busy, they started serving fish on Wednesdays too, to serve more people.

"And keep that popularity we’ve had in a city that loves to eat," said Owner Bill Metzger.

With such a small kitchen, it was hard to serve everyone before the pandemic, with restrictions, it’s even harder.

So they opened this outdoor tent in the fall to accommodate more customers.

They’re seeing the same supporters this year, just more spaced out.

On Fridays, they get so many customers, they have to shut down online ordering, according to Metzger.

Customers have shown this level of support since the beginning.

“We were surprised at how many people said —especially on Fridays—I’m gonna order a fish fry and that was more than 50% of what we were doing when we were open [before the pandemic]," said Metzger.

Fish Fry Friday at Gene McCarthy's is even more popular during pandemic
Fish Fry Friday at Gene McCarthy's is even more popular during pandemic

This local staple makes all sides in house and fries are hand cut. For fish, they offer, breaded, broiled and beer battered.

And what’s special about their beer battered fish fry here is that it’s all local. Fish is from a local vendor and they use beer from the Old First Ward Brewery next door.

Each dinner is $14.50. You can call or order online for takeout or dine inside or outside at the tent. They serve fish on Wednesdays and Fridays and they’re open from 11am to 11pm.