Just because we’re into the being “the new North” doesn’t mean we don’t have a deep love of some throwback institutions like a rockin’ Lenten fish fry—and don’t you dare say ironic, we’re legit-ly into them. And to get you into them, too, Liz B. is ourFish Fry Finder for this season. #blessed! She’s going to help you explore some of the delicious fish + sides + desserts + maybe even beer options that the Twin Cities has to offer.

There’s a woman at the South Saint Paul VFW Post #295 fish fry. She’s the hand stamper, officially, but she is so much more than that. She will take your hand in hers, pull it close, and tell you what’s what with the world of fish fry. Maybe even a little flirting, if you’re lucky. She’s the 80 year old girlfriend I wish I had. The fish fry at VFW post 295 is like that woman. It looks like a normal fish fry, but once you get closer, you realize it’s hella special and everything you’ve been searching for all Lent long.

The South Saint Paul VFW fish fry is a busy, popular spot. They’ve got a wide range of activities including a meat raffle, pull tabs, super cheap pitchers of beer ($9.50 for Coors Light, baby), and a stage for live music. Try to stay focused on the goal of fish, and get in the buffet line, my friend. Your hand has been stamped and your heart is full. The sides are plentiful and hearty, including potato with parsley, baked beans, mac and cheese, coleslaw, and white bread with butter. Tartar sauce is in great supply. Drink options, other than cheap beer, are water, coffee, and 2% milk. No dessert table. There were Girl Scouts selling boxes of cookies, but they refused our request to buy a few looseys.

The fish is fried pollack, and is decidedly not greasy, expertly done, light on flavor but heavy on the satisfaction. Everything is good. Nothing is incredible, but the magic is in the whole package. I find it very satisfying to bask in a well-rounded plate of fish fry, and the SSP VFW is serving it up all night. The AYCE aspect of this fish fry is loving and non-judgmental, but the woman who stamped your hand probably already told you that. For my money, this fish fry is the best and I’ll keep coming back for years to come.

Gambling results: Won at the meat raffle. Lost at pulltabs.

Atmosphere: 9
Taste: 8
Religiosity: 0.69

South Saint Paul VFW, 111 Concord Exchange S, South St Paul, MN 55075. Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. through March 30. $10 for lunch, $12 for dinner.