Tag Archives: Easter

Lenten Fish Fries

March 16, 2017 by
Photography by Joshua Foo

Lent in Omaha—a time of repentance and moderation for devout Catholics—is synonymous with crowded lines of happy, drunken people waiting for heaping piles of deep-fried fish.

Parishioners and non-churchgoers alike rejoice with the approach of Ash Wednesday. Non-Catholics who have never joined in the fun should not hesitate. All are welcome. Lenten fish fries (complete with raffles, pickle cards, and bake sales) are the biggest fundraising event of the year for many Catholic churches, schools, and charities in Omaha.

The beer-infused Friday fry-day gatherings are a popular annual ritual in Midwestern cities with robust Catholic communities. Omaha’s large Catholic population means that several dozen churches will host fish fries throughout the 40 days of Lenten fast (six weeks). Meanwhile, there are plenty of other community groups, such as the local Disabled American Veterans, hosting their own Lenten fish fries.

Some start the Friday before Ash Wednesday. Most begin after Ash Wednesday formally initiates the Lenten season. Some conclude after only a few weeks; others continue for the entire duration of the Lenten fast, including Good Friday two days before Easter.

Not all of them are bacchanals, with children running wild while parents and young adults socialize. A few are alcohol-free. But all are genuine family-friendly celebrations of community.

Expect to spend a few hours standing and waiting in line at Omaha’s most-popular fish fries. The long wait—and the chance to meet new friends while drinking beer—is sometimes the most fun part of the evening.

Omaha Magazine has compiled a list of six must-try fish fries for every week during Lent. But the list is hardly exhaustive. Other excellent fish fries are plentiful in the Omaha area. For those in a hurry, seeking out lesser-known gatherings might even save on the wait time. Or you might just discover a new Lenten favorite.

HOLY NAME CATHOLIC CHURCH (2017 Best of Omaha Winner)

2901 Fontenelle Blvd., Omaha, NE 68104 . 402.451.6622 . holynameomaha.org

Omaha’s oldest Lenten fish fry event, the Holy Name “Fryday” is famous for its jam-packed line, fried Alaskan pollock, french fries, coleslaw, and Rotella’s bread. The BYOB line makes the event especially unique for the 21-and-over crowd. Those arriving at 6 p.m. can expect to find a line stretching out the church, through the adjacent Holy Name Elementary School, and circling around the building. A wait time of three hours is not unusual. The initiated come prepared with coolers full of beer to sustain drinking through the long wait. Upon entering the main building, a free cup of beer is offered. Another free cup of beer is offered if there’s a line out the cafeteria. More beer is sold inside the cafeteria, and a storeroom accommodates winter coats and coolers. Nebraska politicians are known to make appearances at the event, which averages an attendance of 2,300 people per night. Fridays (5-8 p.m.), February 24 (pre-Lenten) to April 7

MARY OUR QUEEN CATHOLIC CHURCH (2017 Best of Omaha Winner)

3405 S. 118th St., Omaha, NE 68144 . 402.333.8662 . maryourqueenchurch.com

A packed line meanders through the halls of Mary Our Queen School, where intermittent refreshment tables allow visitors to replenish their beer pitchers/cups in one of Omaha’s most-popular Lenten fish fries. Young volunteers walk up and down the school’s hallway to collect emptied pitchers. Popcorn is available in the line near the cafeteria. A drive-through allows motorists to avoid the packed halls. Food options include: fried or baked fish, macaroni and cheese, spudsters, fries, coleslaw, bread, with assorted soft drinks and desserts also available for sale. Fridays (5-8 p.m.), March 3 to April 7

ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH OF ELKHORN (2017 Best of Omaha Winner)

20500 West Maple Road, Elkhorn, NE 68022 . 402.289.4289 . stpatselkhorn.org

The fish fry at St. Patrick’s features fried or baked catfish and/or pollock. Margaritas and a variety of beers offer a change of pace from the adult beverages typically available at area fish fries. Cheese pizza, fries, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and dessert round out the available food options. There’s a drive-through, and there are clowns and face-painting for the kids inside. Fridays (5-9:30 p.m.), March 3 to April 7

ST. VINCENT DE PAUL CATHOLIC CHURCH

14330 Eagle Run Drive, Omaha, NE 68164 . 402.496.7988 . svdpomaha.org

A cheerful and welcoming atmosphere radiates from the jam-packed line snaking through the halls of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School. The event features $3 cups, $8 bottles of wine, and $8 pitchers of Boulevard, Lucky Bucket, or Bud Light beer. For those seeking better quality beer on the cheap, St. Vincent de Paul’s fish fry is an excellent choice. Food options include fried or baked fish, cheese pizza, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, and fries or baked potato, with assorted soft drinks and desserts also available for sale. Credit cards accepted. Fridays (5:30-8:30 p.m.), March 3 to April 7

ST. JOHN’S GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH

602 Park Ave., Omaha, NE 68105 . 402.345.7103 . stjohnsgreekorthodox.org

Alcohol is not sold at the event; however, St. John’s offers possibly the most delicious food available at any Omaha area Lenten fish fry. The church also offers historic tours of its Byzantine-style building from 5:30-6:30 p.m. A kitchen full of volunteers (some of whom grew up in Greece and migrated to the United States) cook and serve plaki—a Greek baked cod with Mediterranean sauce. Also available: panko-fried cod, breaded-fried shrimp, baked salmon, and vegetable moussaka (an eggplant lasagna), spanakopita (a pie filled with spinach and feta cheese), and piropita (cheese baked in phyllo dough). Specialty cheesecakes and baklava sundaes await at the dessert bar. Fridays (4:30 to 8 p.m.), March 3 to April 7

HOLY GHOST CATHOLIC CHURCH

5219 S. 53rd St., Omaha, NE 68117 . 402.731.3176 . holyghostomaha.com

Clam chowder is one of the unique offerings at Holy Ghost Parish’s annual Lenten fish fry. The varied menu offers: shrimp, baked or fried cod, macaroni and cheese, or a combo dinner. Each dinner comes with baked potato, salad, fruit bar, and a drink. Beer, margaritas, and “watermelons” (a mixed drink) are sold. While the line is long, the wait is neither the longest nor the most beer-soaked in town. Expedited takeout service is available at the west end of the church. Fridays (4-8 p.m.), February 24 (pre-Lenten) to April 7.

This article was printed in the March/April 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Margie Trembley

March 24, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

In our ungilded age of convenient, casual, ironic dress sense, one is less apt to see men of employable age in suits on a work day than in t-shirts with rainbow-spouting unicorns. Formal hats disappeared shortly before the moon landing and have regained little ground since. Luckily, folks with vision keep the art of hat-making alive, hip, and happening as haute couture. Thanks, Paris!

Margie-Trembly2Meanwhile, 4,479 miles from the French capital, nestled in the restful hamlet of Springfield, Nebraska (population 1,615), lies a sweet little emporium called Springfield Artworks. Full to bursting with decades of art, it is home to Margie Trembley Chapeaux.

Trembley designs hats you will find on the runways in high places. They are haute, haute, haute right now as couture goes. How haute? Haute couture enough for invitations to one of the best places an all-American hatmaker from Omaha via Arkansas can be: Louisville and the pageantry of the Kentucky Derby.

“The Kentucky Derby has a hat fashion contest every year the day before the Derby itself in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness,” says Trembley, who competed in 2014 against 200 other contestants in front of celebrity judges Carson Kressley of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Simon Baker of The Mentalist.

“Miss America introduced everybody,” Trembley says wistfully, but humorously, in her slight Arkansas drawl about that exhilarating day. “There were 200 of us…I didn’t win a thing.”

Undeterred and in true Omaha fashion, Trembley made a quick study of the scene and came up with a clever plan to outfox future competition.

“Since I didn’t win anything and the winners were all young, tall, skinny, gorgeous…I decided I needed ‘young, tall, skinny, gorgeous.’”

Enlisting the help of a young, tall, skinny, gorgeous model from Nashville, Trembley took a second shot at victory at the 2015 contest.

Margie-Trembly-3“So [the model] came from Nashville and she wore this hat,” Trembley says, building expectations. “And we still didn’t win. But we’re walking around the paddock area with the hat on and we get approached by this lady who asked if she could take a picture and so sure, I said, ‘Who are you?’ and she said, ‘I’m with Vogue.’”

Let that digest a moment.

The hat made the front page of vogue.com and has been used in advertising the coming Derby. Trembley was interviewed by ABC Sports and even caught the attention of the local bourgeoisie.

“I’ve been invited to have hats at a high-end store in Louisville called Rodes for Him and Her during Kentucky Derby Week,” says Trembley. That’s not bad for a very modern milliner who began working with hats only a few years ago.

“I’ve been making hats between four and five years. I was a felter prior to making hats, though, and I’ve been an artist for years,” says Trembley, whose secret is that she never stopped learning.

She followed her passions and interests where they led: felting, glass-etching, silk painting, metal-smithing, pottery, glass bead-making, and glass fusing, all of which contribute to her individual style. It all goes back into the hats.

“I learned some really, really good techniques and I’m sticking with it.”

MargieTrembly

Dig These Chicks!

March 17, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

If you are an American female living in the year 2015, you probably have noticed that succulent plants have exploded in popularity over the past year or two. You can’t resist them—their tiny stature, their resilience, their pinks and purples that scream, “I’m a girl plant!” Good grief, let’s just admit it: They’re adorable.
You know what else is adorable? Baby chicks emerging from their eggs at springtime.
So let’s take advantage of a plant that is actually referred to as “hens” and “chicks” (depending on their maturity), and combine them into an explosion of adorable Pinterest magic.

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Supplies

  • Eggs
  • Paper egg carton
  • Knife
  • Paper clip
  • Preserved moss
  • Glue
  • Small succulents
  • Cactus soil (if needed)

Directions

  1. Shop for some succulent babies! You can find these at nurseries, grocery stores, or home improvement stores. The smaller the better. Look for bunches that have multiple blooms to fill out your eggshells.
  2. Open the eggshells with the back of a butter knife. Peel off the top section of the shell until you are satisfied with the size of the hole.
  3. Wash out the eggs with warm water and soap and place them back in the carton. Pull apart a paper clip so that it is one long piece of metal. With the paper clip, poke a hole in the bottom of each egg. Keeping them in the carton will keep the eggs from cracking, and the hole will provide drainage for the plant. Wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
  4. Attach small pieces of preserved moss to the carton with glue to give it a little green. Only do this to the top. Placing moss into the carton will preventthe eggshells from sitting snugly in their place.
  5. Carefully remove the succulents from their containers. Shake off any excess dirt that may be attached at the roots. Fill the eggs about halfway with the excess dirt. Arrange the succulents in the eggshells, and pour a little more dirt into the shells to stabilize the stems.Keep these little guys in a sunny area and spray them with a water bottle sparingly. Succulents are desert plants and, honestly, thrive on neglect. Just my kind of plant.