Almost 65 years ago – April 14, 1957 – 64 men founded the Knights of Columbus Holy Trinity Council No. 4400 at the former St. Stephen’s Church on Youngs Avenue in Joliet. Ten years later, members purchased its council hall at 1813 Cass St. in Joliet, where the council still holds one of the best year-round fish fries in Joliet.
You can’t make a reservation. Be prepared to wait for a table, because this fish fry is just that popular. The mood is upbeat, and people aren’t in a hurry to leave the good food and great atmosphere.
The Knights offer a choice of four different appetizers, all for $7.95 each: mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce, onion rings, fried mushrooms, and macaroni and cheese bites.
The mozzarella sticks had a crispy, well-seasoned crust and plenty of cheese inside.
The onion rings were hot and crisply battered, enveloping just the right thickness of tender onions.
The fried mushroom appetizer was made with whole small mushrooms perfectly seasoned.
The macaroni and cheese bites were hot and crispy on the outside and bursting with cheese on the inside.
Fish lovers can choose a one-, two- or three-piece fish dinner of either Alaskan cod (the Knights’ specialty, according to the menu) or Alaskan walleye. Prices are $11.50, $15.50 and $17.50 for the cod dinners, and $8.50, $11.25 and $13.75 for the walleye. Dinners come with two slices of bread, battered fries and a vinegar coleslaw.
Or you can get two pieces of either cod or walleye served on a sandwich for $12.25 and $8.75, respectively. No fries or coleslaw are served with sandwiches.
One person at my table said a star of the meal was the battered and fried cod, which was cut into generously sized pieces. The batter was light and crispy, and adhered well to the fish. Another person at the table said, “The fish was perfectly cooked,” noting the vinegar coleslaw was “tangy.”
Don’t like fish? Then try one of the Knights’ chicken dinners. I ordered a half chicken dinner for $12 (a quarter chicken dinner was not an option that night).
So I shared the dark meat portions with a family member. The chicken was delicious: moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
Everything arrived hot and full of flavor. The chicken wasn’t dry – which sometimes can be the case with white meat – and the battered fries had a nice crunch and just the right amount of salt.
The Knights also serve shrimp dinners, combo plates of shrimp and fish, kids’ meals, and family dinners, the latter for carryout only. Or you can order fish and chicken by the piece and sides a la carte.
Offered is the dine-in experience or carryout, for which one should phone ahead. There’s no delivery.
Finally, the atmosphere was absolutely the best: loud with everyone having a good time. The service was polite and friendly, and the whole experience left me looking forward to my next fish fry.
• The Mystery Diner is an employee at Shaw Media. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Knights of Columbus Holy Trinity Council No. 4400 fish fry
WHERE: 1813 E. Cass St., Joliet,
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, and 4 to 8 p.m. Saturdays year-round