GREAT FALLS — The Lenten season is upon us and observing Catholics are headed into the holiday’s third week. During Lent, those observing are unable to eat meat, thus it has become tradition to eat fish on Fridays, particularly in Northern states.
The Knights of Columbus are a global fraternal group of practicing Catholic men. The local order have made a tradition of ‘Fish Fry Fridays’ in Great Falls for the last 27 years.
“Many of them are our faithful patrons that come every year and every time we get some that we've never met before. But they've heard about us from from the community, how good the fish is,” says George Kupka, noting the hundreds who came out to feast together.
“We will serve 300-350 people tonight in two and a half hours,” says head chef Kevin O’Connell.
The fish is an Alaskan-sourced pollock, served two ways - baked and fried. The recipe derives from a late member of the fraternity, George Kato, who gave the fish a Japanese flair.
“I like to think it's the best in town,” says Kupka.
“A great meal. They always do a superb job under the food is great. I know one of their donations is they give away 4000 winter coats every year. So that's one of the big reasons I support Knights of Columbus,” says Michael Peet, one of the many standing in line waiting to support a good cause.
In fact, the Knights of Columbus use the proceeds to support numerous outlets, including funding other Catholic institutions in town, thrift stores, and families in need.
“For me, this is kind of a ministry and I look at it, we're doing good things every bit of the money that we make as the Knights of Columbus goes back into the community. I feel honored to be able to do that. And the more people that come in the door, the harder we have to work for two and a half hours, the better it works,” says O’Connell.
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