The “American Turners” is a social club started by German immigrants to the US in the mid 1800s. Still with a nationwide presence today, they have about 50 locations around the country.
The movement started in Germany during the occupation by Napolean, as a way to preserve culture and promote fitness of mind and body.
The group has a number of large meeting halls where they hold special events, celebrate German holidays, and provide space rentals for events in the community.
The hall in Elgin, Illinois has seen better days, but it hosts a very lively membership with weekly events, mostly for members, but some are open to the public, including a weekly Friday night fish fry.
Fish frys are common in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, offering either a set menu or AYCE options of some or all of the following: cod, haddock, shrimp, perch, or catfish, usually accompanied by (choice of) potato and slaw. I’ve been to a few, some are OK, and some are pretty bad and overpriced, but such is not the case at the Elgin Turners.
In fact I was delighted with the entire experience. I chose the combo plate, which included shrimp, haddock, and perch, fries, roll and slaw. Soup and salad bar were available for a buck extra, but I passed on that. The food was cooked to order, crispy, lightly seasoned. I like perch a lot and have eaten it all over the world, and the Turners is terrific. Service was great as well.
There is an all you can eat option, or by the plate. There are plenty of extras/sides to choose from as well.
Serving times are 5-8PM, and arriving right at 5, I was the only diner, save for a few bar patrons, but the room quickly filled. Service was great. Prices are extremely reasonable. I think it should be a regular stop for me, and I will try out some of their other events like “Beer & Sausage” night! Full beverage service available.
Entrance to the building event is thru a small door in the back of the building, off the parking lot. The address is 112 Villa Street, but the entrance to the lot is on the side street (Fulton). If you are coming from I-90, Villa Street is a continuation of Dundee Avenue, which you reach via the Illinois 25 exit. Sample menu below, most plates are around $10.
Elgin Turners Friday Nights Fish Fry
All dinners served with soup or salad, roll, cole slaw, mixed veggies, choice of France fries, sweet potato fries, loaded baked potato, baked sweet potato, onion rings, potato or American fried potatoes
All you can eat fish fry dinner. Fried haddock, perch or both
Fried Haddock Dinner
Fried Perch Dinner
10 Piece Shrimp Dinner
Combo Platter Includes? 1 piece haddock, 1 piece of perch, 2 shrimp and 2 scallops f
4 Piece Fried Chicken Dinner
3 Piece Chicken Tender Dinner
Sandwich and kid options as well.
American Turners Fish Fry