It’s Friday again — Check out our readers’ picks for best Lenten fish fry dinners in JoCo

Fish fry and shrimp dinners are a part of Catholic life during the Lenten season this time of year. But you don't have to be Catholic to celebrate this special time leading up to Easter. Check out our readers' top picks on the best fish fry dinners in Johnson County. Above, a recent fish fry at Church of the Ascension in Overland Park. Photo courtesy William Frederickson.

Welcome back to our weekly 5 to Try series!

It’s the Lenten season leading up to Easter, so now is the time to check out local fish fry dinners happening over the next several weeks in Johnson County.

In the Christian faith, Lent is a time of fasting and reflection in preparation for Easter, celebrated this year on Sunday, April 17.

During this 40-day period, many Catholics on Fridays abstain from land-based meats and poultry, instead opting for fish. The fish fry dinners on Friday nights during Lent have become a tradition this time of year for many local parishes.

We asked our readers to help us find the best fish fry and shrimp dinners, and they delivered.

Note: you don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy these dinners. Local parishes open their doors to all-comers who want to eat and be filled.

The dinners themselves usually are not accompanied by a religious service. Many parishes ask diners to pay an entry fee at the door, so having cash on hand is convenient.

Here are some of the top picks for best fish fry dinners! And, if you’re interested, here’s a more comprehensive list of all the Lenten dinners this year, published by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

Holy Spirit Catholic Church (Overland Park)

The Lenten Fish Fry Dinner takes place every Friday during Lent through April 8. Photo courtesy Jim Easterday.

When it comes to seafood dinners, Holy Spirit Catholic Church’s Friday dinners are hard to beat. Our readers love it for the shrimp and fish options, plus all the side dishes you get with your meal.

Post reader Deanne Winkelmann, a St. Louis native who says she grew up enjoying her hometown’s robust Lenten celebrations in that Catholic-centric city, recommends this fish fry locally.

“In addition to two different fish options and shrimp, the seafood gumbo was delicious!” Winkelmann said. “I have never been to a dinner that offered gumbo as a unique option. The fish fry also featured some lighthearted musical entertainment and an ice cream sundae hosted by the church youth group. This was the first time we were able to take my daughter to a fish fry as she was born in May 2020 during the early pandemic.”

Menu items include shrimp, breaded cod, baked tilapia, seafood gumbo, cheese pizza, new potatoes, coleslaw, green bean casserole, cheese pizza, mac & cheese, bread, assorted beverages and ice cream sundaes.

All-you-can-eat shrimp and fish is available for $18, all-you-can-eat fish for $12, children 4-10 years old eat for $5, and $1 for children 3 and younger. Family meals cost $34.

When to go: Organized by the Knights of Columbus, the Lenten Seafood Dinners take place from 5 to 7 p.m. each Friday during Lent except Good Friday (which falls on April 15 this year) at St. Elizabeth’s Hall, 11300 W. 103rd St., Overland Park.

St. Michael the Archangel (Leawood)

The weekly fish fry dinner at St. Michael the Archangel in Leawood offers up smoke salmon and family-sized options. Screenshot via St. Michael YouTube channel.

As one of our readers’ top picks for the best fish fry in Johnson County, St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Parish in Leawood offers a traditional, delicious menu for its weekly Lenten meal.

Every Friday, St. Michael offers a fish fry with all the fixings, from salmon (and smoked salmon) and tilapia to shrimp pasta and plenty of sides. They also offer family-sized dinners to feed larger groups.

“What would Lent be without a trip to St. Michael’s in Leawood?” said Post reader Ann Schuster. “They smoke their own salmon! It is delicious and never overcooked. Great sides are available, too.”

Salmon family dinners cost $58, tilapia family dinners cost $48, salmon dinner is $17, tilapia dinner is $14, and children can eat for $6. Click here for a full menu.

When to go: Organized by the Knights of Columbus, the fish fry takes place from 4:45 to 6:45 p.m. each Friday at the parish hall at 14251 Nall Ave., Leawood. Carryout options are also available, and you can order in advance. Mark your calendars for March 11, 18, 25, April 1 and April 8.

St. Joseph Catholic Church (Shawnee)

The St. Joseph fish fry takes place at the Shawnee Knights of Columbus each Friday during Lent. Photo courtesy Ashley Rieke.

If shrimp is more of your thing, then follow our readers’ top pick for the best shrimp dinner in Johnson County.

St. Joseph Catholic Church in Shawnee offers a shrimp dinner that includes a fish option with baked cod, and even pizza if that’s more your thing. And the sides come aplenty: think the usual fixings, including potatoes, corn, green beans and rolls.

This large community event also offers plenty of sides to get your grub on.

“St. Joseph’s Shrimp Dinner in Shawnee is a must add!” said Post reader Sam Komosa. “The Knights of Columbus serve shrimp, fish, and even cheese pizza for the kiddos. I spent many Lenten Fridays growing up eating way too much pizza and running around the parking lot with my schoolmates, who have become lifelong friends.”

Combo dinners are $17, shrimp dinners are $14, baked cod is $8, and veggie option is $5. Meals for older adults 65 and up as well as children 12 and younger are lower prices.

When to go: Hosted by the Shawnee Knights of Columbus, the shrimp dinner takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. each Friday during Lent at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 11221 Johnson Drive, Shawnee.

Church of the Ascension (Overland Park)

Church of the Ascension’s fish fry takes place every Friday through April 8. Photo courtesy William Frederickson.

Looking for an all-you-can-eat Lenten meal to feed the whole family? Our readers definitely love Church of the Ascension in Overland Park for its tasty and varied menu.

“I recommend the Church of the Ascension at 9510 W 127th St.,” said Post reader Randy Ross of Overland Park. “Great selection of fish to choose as well as side dishes.”

Church of the Ascension offers dinners for all you can eat, $13 for folks age 12 and older, and $6 for children 5 to 11 years old. The full-range menu offers three kinds of fish, including beer-battered cod, baked tilapia and Cajun catfish.

Plus, those who don’t like fish can try their veggie and cheese pizza and mac & cheese, as well as French fries, hush puppies, green beans, roasted potatoes, and two kinds of coleslaw. Don’t forget dessert!

When to go: Dinners take place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. every Friday until April 8 in the parish hall downstairs at the church, 9510 W. 127th St., Overland Park.

St. Ann Catholic Church (Prairie Village)

St. Ann’s shrimp dinner takes place March 25. Above, a picture from the church’s last shrimp dinner that took place in 2019. Photo courtesy Michaela Comstock.

Mark your calendar for this one, because St. Ann Catholic Church in Prairie Village only does their fish fry once per Lenten season.

This year, they’re offering their special shrimp dinner on Friday, March 25.

The dinner features a menu of boiled shrimp, potatoes, mac-n-cheese and house salad. Dine-in and carry-out options are available.

Cost is $20 for adults; $10 for children; and $1 for a child’s pizza slice.

When to go: Hosted by the Knights of Columbus, the dinner takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 25,  in the cafeteria at the church, 7231 Mission Road, Prairie Village.