Fish and pasta are on the menu this Lenten season at two Grandview-area churches -- but it's not just the fare that reels people in.
Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church's annual fish fry and St. Christopher Catholic Church's pasta dinner will be held each Friday, Feb. 16 through March 23.
The fish fry draws diners from all over the Columbus area, event chairman Jesse Oddi said.
"It's the quality of our food," he said. "We're probably one of the only churches that prepare fresh ocean perch. We don't use frozen fish. We hand-batter each piece with our own freshly made batter and make our own cole slaw."
The meals will be served from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Fridays during Lent in the church's Parish Life Center, 1559 Roxbury Road in Marble Cliff.
Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children; the menu includes fish along with potatoes or rice, salad or slaw and beverages (wine, soda and coffee), plus homemade desserts. Pizza will be offered for youngsters without a taste for seafood. Carryout meals will be available.
Our Lady of Victory uses the proceeds from the fish fry for a variety of church projects and missions, including support of local food banks and dinners for homeless people at the YWCA Family Center, Oddi said.
People come to the fish fry for more than just the food, he said.
"There's a friendly and welcoming atmosphere -- that's what we try to set," Oddi said. "You get a chance to see people that have maybe moved to another area. You get to see them and they get to see you."
Good food and great company also are on the menu at St. Christopher's pasta dinners.
"It's always a fun time. People have a chance to relax and visit with each other," said Jackie O'Reilly, St. Christopher's business manager.
"Parents can bring their children to our pasta dinners and let them run around while they visit. You can't really do that at a restaurant."
The event is from 5 to 7 p.m. Fridays during Lent in the Trinity Catholic School cafeteria, 1440 Grandview Ave.
Each all-you-can-eat dinner includes pasta with choice of red or white meatless sauce, plus vegetables, tossed salad and homemade dessert. Cost is $8 person, $5 for children, $30 for families. Soda and water will be available for $1.
The sauce will be provided by a different restaurant each week.
"That makes it a different taste experience every time," O'Reilly said. "Some people have sauces they particularly like and make it a point to come on that night. It also gives you a chance to come each week, sample them all and pick your favorite.
"Some of the restaurants don't usually make white sauces, so this is a chance for them to try something different," she said.
The participating restaurants are Dempsey's Restaurant, Feb. 16; Z Cucina, Feb. 23; La Scala, March 2; Bravo Italian Kitchen, March 9; Trattoria Roma, March 16; and Emelio's Restaurant and Catering, March 23.
St. Christopher's uses proceeds from the pasta dinner to fund various general church projects and to provide startup money for its summer festival, O'Reilly said.