I have no clue how the ‘tradition’ started, but Friday nights in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin are “fish fry” nights, with many restaurants and bars offering some variation of this meal, either at a value price or on an all you can eat basis.
Cruisin’, a distant Chicago suburb bar with a second location east of Rockford, offers different specials every night of the week, with the Friday fish fry providing diners with a choice of walleye, cod, lake perch, shrimp, catfish or haddock – baked or fried, with a choice of two sides from a lengthy selection.
The restaurant has a very complete menu, with steaks, chicken, seafood, sandwiches, ribs, burgers and salads.
The fish fry isn’t “all you can eat,” but it is certainly “all you care to eat,” as the serving size is very generous especially for the price. I went with the battered Alaskan walleye, as I am from Minnesota, and you can’t be from Minnesota if walleye ain’t your favorite eatin’ fish.
It was delicious. The joint is very busy on Fridays, as one might expect, but service was prompt and courteous. The fish was light and flaky, the batter crispy and not overwhelming, and the shoestring fries, crispy and lightly seasoned. Superb.
Cruisin’ opens at 11AM daily, sports a car-themed decor and the Gilberts location has regular classic car shows on the lot. Check website for dates.