This is what life is like: In less than two weeks, I've eaten at one of Daniel Bolud's restaurants, declined a cricket tostada at another spot, and sat in a church gym at a fish fry in south St. Louis. That's running the gamut.
I'd wanted to do a Friday Lent fish fry for some years. This week, I went to St. Pius V on South Grand. And I had both a good time and a good meal. The slab of fried cob, the macaroni and cheese, the potato salad and the slaw, none of them tasted mass-produced. They were carefully cooked, the fish crisp and not greasy, and the tartar sauce tart. Everything was better-seasoned than the mass-produced stuff put out at many of the so-called "dinner house" chains. And while the chocolate bundt cake may possibly have been one of those pudding-in-the mixes, it was moist and tender.
And it's crazy cheap. $8 for an adult - catfish or cod, three sides, bread and butter, dessert, tea, coffee or water. Beer and soda for an extra charge. (And music for part of the evening.)
It's been decades since I lived south of Highway Farty, in several parts of the south side. I had my share of neighbors complaining I parked in front of their house, and once I even got a nasty anonymous note because I was daring enough to take a fast spin on my 7-year-old son's banana bike. (I was guilty of being undignified.) But this is the epitome of the best of South St. Louis, nice people, pleasant conversation, unaggrieved helpers, just like something out of a movie.
Every Friday through March 22, from 4 p.m. until 7:30, kids' plates and carryout available. Enter on the north side of the building, on Utah.
St. Pius V Roman Catholic Church
3310 S. Grand Ave.