Plenty of Catholics still adhere to the no-meat-on Friday rule, so if you're going to sell fried fish at a fundraiser, nothing beats Friday night. If you manage to have that fish dinner on a Friday during Lent, a period when the potential for capturing meat-constrained parishioners multiplies, you are truly blessed.
For Argyle Fish and Chips restaurant, a Lenten Friday is a big deal. Off-site catering is sizeable part of the restaurant's business, and Argyle fish and chips dinners are a popular choice for organizations having fundraisers, including Roxbury Fire Company One.
When Argyle's owner, Succasunna resident Bill Gordon, found himself with a Lenten Friday night fish fry cancelation, he figured Roxbury Fire Company One might be interested. He wasn’t mistaken. The fire station's association jumped at the chance and it will be welcoming Gordon and his portable fish fry kitchen on Feb. 27.
The firefighters are excited even though they’re running the risk of being snowed on or iced out. “This will be the first time we’re doing it in winter,” said fire company association member Jerry Filipow. “But once that date became available, Bill contacted me and asked if we were interested and I said, `Absolutely.’”
Gordon is a little apprehensive, given the behavior of Mother Nature so far this winter. He does all the cooking outside and it’s usually not a big problem, since he brings a portable tent. But it was about 15 degrees in Roxbury as he spoke Monday and Gordon said he was “dreading” a continuation of the Arctic blast.
However, he pointed out Argyle was scheduled to fry fish in Succasunna Feb. 27 even before the fire department grabbed the date. That’s because the slot grabbed by the firehouse had been initially booked by the First Presbyterian Church of Succasunna, about 1,000 feet east of the firehouse on Main Street. But the church canceled and the fire department snagged the slot.
It will be the sixth year the firehouse is offering Argyle fish and chips dinners as a fundraiser and the first year it is doing it three times. There will be two others this year, one close to Mother’s Day and one near Veteran’s Day, said Filipow. He said he wants to see three a year from now on. Each fish and chips fundraiser brings the firehouse about $1,500 in profit, he said.
The Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe in Chester, a bakery managed by Filipow's daughter, Stacey, is providing dessert for the event. The Sweet Spot is going to serve cupcakes.
Although the firehouse has a kitchen, it makes sense to have Argyle handle the cooking, said Filipow. “We always have Billdo it for us,” he said. “Actually I don’t know if we’d make more money doing it ourselves, given all time and effort involved. Bill comes in, sets up, and supplies us with everything like paper plates, napkins, coleslaw, ketchup and vinegar. He does all the cooking, he cleans up and he goes. All we do is serve the people, and when it’s over we pack up our tables and we’re done.”
The event runs from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets for adults cost $16 and children pay $10. Those who don’t want fish can ask for fried chicken and all orders can be taken out for enjoyment at home.
Tickets will be sold every Tuesday night at the firehouse and at the door during the event. For more information, contact Filipow at (973) 945-9423.