Originally published March 2020
Fish frys became popular as observant Catholics looked to avoid eating meat on Fridays during Lent, even though fish is, technically, meat. And of course, it benefited the fishermen of the day.
Even though religious observances have been wanted in recent years, the popularity of the Friday fish fry has endured.
Like pizza and wings, there are a lot of places for great fish frys in the 716 and everyone has their favorite spot. Also like wings and pizza, it’s hard to agree on what’s the best. However, we can probably agree on what fish frys are iconic. You know, those fish frys that are always top of mind whenever anyone is looking for suggestions. Below is a short list of fish fry spots you have either tried yourself or heard of.
Note: These are the top one’s we know and love but they are not ranked in any particular order nor do they complete the list of all the choices WNY has to offer. For more fish fry options, check out our other articles here!
1748 Clinton St, Buffalo, NY 14206 / Facebook
When a tourist asks you where to go for the best fish fry in town, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll say Wiechec’s. It’s iconic, full stop.
4100 Lake Shore Rd, Hamburg, NY 14075 / Facebook
To people who grew up in the Southtowns, Hoak’s is a seafood icon. Also a go-to spot for local TV reporters looking to cover waves and windy conditions, Hoak’s is busy year-round, not just during the fish fry crazed days of Lent.
3316 Bailey Ave, Buffalo, NY 14215 / Website
Bailey Seafood is proof positive that some of the best food in any city can be found in its realist, grittiest neighborhoods. Make no mistake, Bailey Seafood is a diamond in the rough, and a city icon when it comes to fish frys. Above is one of their most popular items, a fish fry in a sandwich.
8900 Main St, Clarence, NY 14031 / Website
Located on Main Street in Clarence, Hayes is at the opposite end of the neighborhood spectrum from Bailey Seafood. However, the quality is comparable, which is to say, very high.
5. Hamlin House
432 Franklin St, Buffalo, NY 14202 / Website
Fish Fry Fridays is all about tradition and if you want a fish fry steeped in tradition, you go to the Hamlin House. Located in a mansion built in the mid-19th century, Hamlin House is antithetical to the hip, foodie side of Allentown, and that’s why we dig it.
170 Ohio St, Buffalo, NY 14203 / Facebook
Swannie House is another traditional fish fry spot, but with a distinctly Cobblestone District vibe. A great place to pregame or watch a Sabres game, Swannie House is almost always bustling with a healthy mix of locals and out-of-towners.
2134 Seneca St, Buffalo, NY 14210 / Website
It doesn’t get much more South Buffalo than The Blackthorn, which also happens to have a very good fish fry. To be fair, The Blackthorn probably wouldn’t be the SoBuff institution that it is without great food, and a great pint of Guinness.
647 Ridge Rd #1451, Lackawanna, NY 14218 / Website
If you told someone you back in the 90s that they wanted to bring a Carribean restaurant concept to a Lackawanna pub, you probably would have told them they were crazy. However, Curly’s has endured, in part because of its reputation for great seafood.
*The iconic fish fry at Curly’s is also available gluten-free.*
864 Kenmore Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216 / Website
Outside of the Ken-Ton area, Kenmore Avenue doesn’t get a ton of love, but this vital artery is chock full of comfort food, neighborhood joints like Sinatra’s, Vizzy’s and Franco’s Pizza. Curry’s is another such place and the fish fry packs em in on Friday nights.
Looking for something different? Check out these spots on our fish fry sonar:
- The Blarney Castle
- Potters Field
- Parkside Meadow
- Yukon Jacks
- The Iron Kettle