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Searching for Lake Perch in and around Northwest Indiana

Searching for Lake Perch in and around Northwest Indiana
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  • Searching for Lake Perch in and around Northwest Indiana

    Post #1 - March 29th, 2013, 9:07 am
    Post #1 - March 29th, 2013, 9:07 am Post #1 - March 29th, 2013, 9:07 am
    A good post for Good Friday and lucky #1111. I'm a big fan of lake perch (get outta here with that ocean crap) but never grew up eating it. I would assume I had it at some point in my teens and enjoyed it as I did all other fish and seafood especially that which was fried. But I don't think I really grew a love for it until I started to learn of others love for it and how over time its on less and less menus. I would imagine it was this thread HERE along with the stories and lure that triggered my itch for it. Come along across the border into Northwest Indiana and beyond where it's always been a popular eat. Enjoy the tour.

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    Somewhere along US-41

    I learned the fishing laws of Great Lake states as I sought out some spots. You cant commercially fish for lake perch in Lake Michigan. You can get a license and are limited to catch X amount each day but other than that fisherman have to stay away from it in Lake Michigan. So this means most of the lake perch at these places is coming from either Lake Eerie or Lake Superior.

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    Signs of Perch are still around...though some spots are long gone
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    Up For Grabs

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    Whiting IN

    This might be your best bet for a great plate that's not too far away. About 15 minutes from downtown Chicago, Whiting is home to the popular Pierogi Fest each summer. Coming from the city it's right before Hammond which was once the home to the popular now defunct Phil Smidt's. One of my favorites from this list. What you see in the pic is only half of a plate as me and a buddy split it. The ladies working here were super friendly and the inside decor is very old school with the feeling like you're eating at someones home. Make sure to get their signature red boiled potatoes as your side. They pack some real flavor.

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    Half of a Lake Perch Lunch
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    Friday Night Lenten Fish Fry at Knights of Columbus

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    East Chicago IN

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    Some sights from inside

    Every Friday during Lent the Knight's of Columbus in East Chicago host a Fish Fry dinner. They offer an assortment of fishes and frog legs too. I think it was $12 that got us in as we beat the rush just as doors opened. Old people were soon to follow. After you pay and get your ticket they have a long line of side options for you to choose from. It looked like it was pot-luck style and all I really wanted was the perch so I passed on them and the deserts but enjoyed my fish fry featuring lake perch. I also scooped up some really great homemade butter cake the young scouts were selling.

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    Lake Perch Fish Fry
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    Chuck and Irene's Hotel and Bar

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    Hammond IN

    Since lake perch is kind of becoming an old school dish around the Midwest you'll notice most of the places in this report have been around for a while. The original Chuck and Irene's started in 1947 in East Chicago. They moved to Hammond in 1959 and not much has changed except maybe the flat screens. This is a great stop on the perch trail. It's nestled in among the factories and they open at 6am and close at 3a. I've been here quite a few times and have talked to guys who were there before work and said they'd be back the next morning as soon as they were off. Indiana passed a state wide smoking ban but they're exempt from these rules. It can get cloudy inside.

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    a peak inside

    Friday is fish and seafood day and they do up some great plates. For those of you looking for your lake perch served bone-on this is your spot. They offer a "side" of melted butter (more like a melted stick) for you to dip your fish flesh in after you rip it off the bones. It comes served with a little relish plate and a bread basket before the good stuff. Maybe it was the butter? Maybe it's that like steak, fish tastes better off the bone? Maybe they're just experts at frying fish as the batter was perfectly light while extra crispy? I cant pinpoint the exact reason this $14 plate was so so great but it was.

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    Lake Perch with Bones (Served Friday's when available)
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    Town Club

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    Highland IN

    This place is always mentioned when "who has the best perch in Northwest Indiana" is discussed. It's reminiscent of many steak and seafood spots from around here that are now long gone. Though a few of them like town Club are still around. Their perch is delivered fresh on ice from Lake Superior and worth the ride from the city if you enjoy this dish. Also good are the handmade onion rings and their famous fried zucchini. Good atmosphere and good eats.

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    Lake Perch Lunch
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    Tradition's

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    Highland IN

    Around 1910 a couple opened a saloon and boarding house called Grimmer's for folks traveling thru these parts. That place is what Tradition's is today. It's gone thru a few name changes as time has gone by with it's most recent fit a popular place for locals to eat and drink and catch all Chicago sports teams on TV. I had a tasty lake perch sandwich for lunch. It was more like some lightly dusted pieces of lake eerie perch served on some locally sourced rye but I liked. They say they also offer blue gill daily but didn't have it on either of my visits. No food on Sundays.

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    Lake Perch Sandwich
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    Tiebel's

    I don't think this place has it's own thread but there are mentions of it throughout the site. When Phil Smidt's went away I imagine this is the place most patrons who loved it and their atmosphere went to instead. Some folks must of preferred it since they've been around since 1929. It's a popular spot with a huge banquet hall. They're known for their fried perch and chicken. I like the perch more than the chicken but this place is probably the priciest of those on here. Some of the unhealthiest too as they give you cups of melted butter to dip it in. I think Friday is AYCE day. If you can eat enough, it might be worth the close to $40 it cost.

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    Lake Perch Lunch from Tiebel's in Schererville IN
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    Dick's Restaurant

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    St. John IN

    I dont really remember how I found each and every one of these places but most of them were thru LTH and google searches and a few like Dick's came thru rec's of people I talked too. This is another one of those old school large steak and seafood places around the area. When we stopped in for the lake perch lunch around 3p there were a good amount of seniors eating dinner. Middle of the road as far as the fish goes but the difference in the best spots and the lesser favorites on this list isn't all that much. I do remember that Asian inspired slaw in the picture being some of the tastiest I ever ate.

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    Lake Perch Lunch
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    Boundary Waters Lodge

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    Demotte IN

    This place came recommended by some bikers one day me and a friend decided to try a few of the spots on this list out. It's a little taste of the Northwoods of Wisconsin in a strip mall in Indiana. The owners spend some up North there each year and wanted to open up a place in Indiana with the dark lighting and wooden stalls with animals heads on the walls tavern type vibe. The lake perch was one of the better batches with a perfect lightly dusted coat of batter before frying.

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    Lake Perch lunch
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    Marti's Place

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    Hebron IN

    This place takes the prize for best vibe. Located in the middle of nowhere you would never find this place unless you happened to already be lost and drove by or knew where you were headed. It's a really cool spot popular with bikers and who knows who else as theres not many other signs of life around. It sits on the Kankakee River between DeMotte and Hebron Indiana.

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    Indoor and outdoor seating

    Inside there's a really nice old school bar which on our visit had a bunch of regulars seated there. We sat outside and it was a great vibe on a summer day with boaters coming thru and the entertainment of feeding big fish with a big beer in hand. They offer fish feed for a quarter in a machine on the deck. The wings were pretty good as was the homemade beef noodle soup. The perch was as well. I think the mashed potatoes I opted for were from a box so maybe go with something else as your side if ever stopping in.

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    Lake Perch Lunch
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    New Country Lounge

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    Hobart IN

    Yet another popular old school place for locals to go on weekends for seafood and steak dinners and weekdays when the sun is still up for drinks. I remember stopping here on the way up to Michigan City one weekend having been tempted when I saw they offer a Perch De Jonghe. Shrimp De Jonghe is an old Chicago favorite that I learned to love thru my uncle who makes a mean one. Unfortunately theirs wasn't up to par with his. I should of just tried the regular standard of lightly fried. Though the lady working the bar here was great and it was a really friendly place.

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    Perch (L) and Shrimp (R) De Jonghe
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    Lincoln Carry Out

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    Hobart IN

    Rene G has a nice set of posts going thru the history and menu of the different spots that boast the Lincoln name on this thread started by Cojito. They dont have any relations with each other though if I'm not mistaken this one in Hobart is from one of the siblings of the GNR original in Highland. I dont know if the original has a lake perch sandwich on the menu but I tried one at Lincoln's in Hobart. Two pieces came beer battered on a bun with the usual suspects for toppings. I believe the fish was pre-breaded from the freezer to the fryer but still not a bad bite for $5.

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    Lake Perch Sandwich
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    Johnson's Fish and Shrimp

    I've been stopping thru here a couple times each summer since my first visit a while back. They have a sister location in Lombard though I'm not sure whether or not they regularly have lake perch on the menu there. It has it's own thread HERE. This is still some of the best in my book. I look forward to some this summer when passing thru Lake Station en route to Michigan City/Long Beach and beyond.

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    Some of the best fried lake perch I've ate in the state (Lake Station, IN)
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    Old Style Inn

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    Valparaiso IN

    A while back I met up with the Grub Seeker aka jimswside around me for some brews and before we knew it we were off to NW Indiana. As me made the rounds around town we stopped in at this cool old school bar and restaurant in the downtown part of Valpo. Inside is a nice well kept bar that had plenty of old nostalgic beer memorabilia still up and a very respectable lake perch sandwich should you feel the need. I always do.

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    Lake Perch Sandwich
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    Islamorada Fish Company at Bass Pro Shops

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    Portage IN

    On the same trip me and a buddy took to try a few of the spots on here we stopped thru Bass Pro Shops for something and I ended up with a card for the restaurant connected to the place upon entering. The card mentioned they had fresh lake perch on special so despite being stuffed I convinced my buddy to stop into the chain restaurant to try it and a beer.

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    View at the Bar - Venison Stuffed Mushrooms

    They have a pretty fantastic fish tank. It's Las Vegas/NBA player lifestyle size for you to gaze at while at the bar. Ended up trying their signature mushrooms and they were good for what they were. The lake perch was the most uniquely battered of all the places on here and I enjoyed that. Even though it was a heavier batter it was the same stuff they use for their famous mahi mahi sandwich which has some coconut in it. Much better than I thought it would be, this was expected though because it was a $15.95 dinner.

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    Lake Perch Dinner
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    Swingbelly's

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    Michigan City IN

    I've been going to this place since my grade school days when they were in a small house like building down on Lake Shore Drive in Long Beach. They've come up and are now housed in the old train station stop from the old South Shore Line. This place is one of the only good spots in the area unless you wanna drive 15 minutes to New Buffalo. They do everything better than average and their new digs has some nice indoor and outdoor seating on the water. I really like their firecracker chicken sandwich and have also had the walleye which is rarer in these parts.

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    Walleye Dinner

    I didn't think their walleye was up to par with the other places I've had it at here in the Midwest but their lake perch is some of the best. Available as a lunch, dinner or as a sandwich they have really fresh tasting filets of perch which are perfectly fried. Get their homemade onions strings to go with it. I eat this at least once every trip over there.

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    Lake Perch Lunch
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    Heston Supper Club

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    La Porte IN

    That same trip with the Grub Seeker we wound up down a dark road in La Porte headed towards the popular Heston Supper Club. This place is a really great example of this popular style of eatery usually found in Wisconsin but extending throughout the Midwest. Big people dining and all. I always go Prime Rib at these places but Jim went with the small Lake Perch plate. I tried a taste and it was just ok, it wasn't fried as good as others. I'd stick with their excellent Prime Rib.

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    Lake Perch Dinner (small person portion)
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    Too full too continue. See y'all next time.

    Up for Grabs
    1923 Calumet Ave
    Whiting, IN 46394
    (219) 659-4508

    Knights of Columbus
    1104 Knights of Columbus Dr
    East Chicago, IN 46312
    (219) 398-6700

    Chuck and Irene's Hotel and Bar
    6110 Kennedy Ave
    Hammond, IN 46323
    (219) 844-9812

    Town Club Restaurant and Lounge
    2904 45th St
    Highland, IN 46322
    (219) 924-5227

    Tradition's Restaurant and Pub
    2739 Highway Ave
    Highland, IN 46322
    (219) 838-3100

    Teibel's Family Restaurant
    1775 U.S. 41
    Schererville, IN 46375
    (219) 865-2000

    Dick's Restaurant
    10808 Wicker Ave
    St John, IN 46373
    (219) 365-5041

    Boundary Waters Lodge
    514 N Halleck St
    De Motte, IN 46310
    (219) 987-5757

    Marti's Place
    17519 N 700 W
    Hebron, IN 46341
    (219) 996-3363

    The New Country Lounge
    3700 Montgomery St
    Hobart, IN 46342
    (219) 942-6699

    Lincoln Carry-Outs
    1002 Lincoln St
    Hobart, IN 46342
    (219) 942-2113

    Johnson's Fish & Shrimp
    2619 Central Ave
    Lake Station, IN 46405
    (219) 962-1956

    Old Style Inn
    5 Lincolnway
    Valparaiso, IN 46383
    (219) 462-5600

    Bass Pro Shops
    6425 Daniel Burnham Dr
    Portage, IN 46368
    (219) 787-6800

    Swingbelly's
    100 Washington St
    Michigan City, IN 46360
    (219) 874-5718

    Heston Supper Club
    2003 East 1000 North
    La Porte, IN 46350
    (219) 778-2938
  • Post #2 - March 29th, 2013, 9:34 am
    Post #2 - March 29th, 2013, 9:34 am Post #2 - March 29th, 2013, 9:34 am
    Damn! Thanks, Beef. What a glorious post -- and perfectly timed on Good Friday. Massive thanks, for this spectacularly informative post.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #3 - March 29th, 2013, 9:58 am
    Post #3 - March 29th, 2013, 9:58 am Post #3 - March 29th, 2013, 9:58 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Damn! Thanks, Beef. What a glorious post
    Glorious, terrific, fantastic. I might just have to dust off the powder blue AMC Pacer and head out to Northwest Indiana.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #4 - March 29th, 2013, 10:06 am
    Post #4 - March 29th, 2013, 10:06 am Post #4 - March 29th, 2013, 10:06 am
    I pass some of these places regularly; others occasionally; still others I'm sure I've passed but didn't even notice. And, other than Tiebel's, haven't tried a one. THANKS for the guide Beef and, hopefully, I'll be tasting some great fish soon thanks to you!!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #5 - March 29th, 2013, 1:14 pm
    Post #5 - March 29th, 2013, 1:14 pm Post #5 - March 29th, 2013, 1:14 pm
    It's good to know that Boundary Waters Lodge is still serving great lake perch. it's been more than fours years since I've been there, and almost six years since I made this post recommending it:

    viewtopic.php?p=126599#p126599

    In nearby Lansing IL you'll find two additional places serving lake perch...Serbian Social Center and the Lansing Knights Of Columbus.
  • Post #6 - March 29th, 2013, 3:33 pm
    Post #6 - March 29th, 2013, 3:33 pm Post #6 - March 29th, 2013, 3:33 pm
    Terrific post and I thought I knew my way around N W Indiana. Thanks this is great.
  • Post #7 - March 29th, 2013, 7:04 pm
    Post #7 - March 29th, 2013, 7:04 pm Post #7 - March 29th, 2013, 7:04 pm
    Like so many of your other contributions, Da Beef, this is great. I can always use help (a) learning about where to find and how to appreciate good fish and (b) finding good food of any kind in NW Indiana.

    It's not quite perfect for Good Friday, though, Ronnie, which, unlike other Fridays in Lent, is a day of not only abstinence but also fasting. Da Beef's photos make me want to eat much more fried fish than the one small meal that is allowed.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #8 - March 29th, 2013, 7:41 pm
    Post #8 - March 29th, 2013, 7:41 pm Post #8 - March 29th, 2013, 7:41 pm
    Another fine survey of regional eats DB, thanks man!

    My first piece of lake perch was most likely enjoyed at Phil Smidt's with my grandma. However, it was further up the shore toward Michigan City and into Harbor Country, where my family spent our summers, that I really got hooked on the stuff. The best of the best, back in the 80's and early 90's, was found at Seafood Delights in Michigan City, which has long since closed, formerly found on the banks of Trail Creek, just under the bridge from where the Blue Chip stands these days. IIrc, the menu was an austere affair offering mainly freshwater catches with an emphasis on perch and frog legs (I always ordered the combo).

    Da Beef wrote:
    Swingbelly's

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    Michigan City IN

    I've been going to this place since my grade school days when they were in a small house like building down on Lake Shore Drive in Long Beach. They've come up and are now housed in the old train station stop from the old South Shore Line. This place is one of the only good spots in the area unless you wanna drive 15 minutes to New Buffalo. They do everything better than average and their new digs has some nice indoor and outdoor seating on the water. I really like their firecracker chicken sandwich and have also had the walleye which is rarer in these parts.


    This really takes me back. I haven't checked out this latest incarnation of Swingbelly's- the original on LSD was part of my family's regular Saturday night rotation back in the day. I don't recall ever sampling their perch though, probably sticking to some sort of bacon and ranch dressing augmented fried chicken sandwich back then.
    I do remember enjoying the perch at Redamak's in my youth, believe it or not. I was just there and its still on the menu, though something's telling me it may not be a fresh domestic product. I also used to frequently order their smelt, which is not on their current menu.

    These days, I've taken roost further up the coast in Saugatuck in the summertime. Fried perch is a staple of the area's watering holes and renditions are, at best, hit or miss. I will vouch for the fried lake perch at Wally's downtown, which can range from good to fantastic depending who's manning the fryer that particular day, but I know and use their supplier, Lambert's a great little fishmonger up in Holland that sources fresh Great Lakes-caught perch.
  • Post #9 - April 2nd, 2013, 1:20 pm
    Post #9 - April 2nd, 2013, 1:20 pm Post #9 - April 2nd, 2013, 1:20 pm
    Never thought my hometown of DeMotte would get play on this forum. Let alone a piece with TWO places.
    My mom (that ordered Lake Perch on basically every outside of the house meal as I grew up) appreciated when I let her know of the article.
  • Post #10 - April 3rd, 2013, 7:42 am
    Post #10 - April 3rd, 2013, 7:42 am Post #10 - April 3rd, 2013, 7:42 am
    I drove by Marti's Place once taking the scenic route to Valpo on a business trip and thought, "that looks like my kinda joint." Beef - thanks for letting my know my intuition was correct. Can't wait to stop the next time I am in the area with the family. Good chow, cold beer and feeding fish off the deck - now that's Midwestern livin'!

    Davooda
    Life is a garden, Dude - DIG IT!
    -- anonymous Colorado snowboarder whizzing past me March 2010
  • Post #11 - April 5th, 2013, 1:12 pm
    Post #11 - April 5th, 2013, 1:12 pm Post #11 - April 5th, 2013, 1:12 pm
    Glad to see people are enjoying the tour as much as I did. Although it's not over, I think we're just getting started. My buddy called me the afternoon of Good Friday and said something along the lines of "You got me fiending for some lake perch so we're going to get some, NOW" I told him I would but only if he had a place that hadn't been in the report. He said see you in an hour and we were headed back into Da Region from there.

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    East Chicago IN

    When he scooped me up my friend told me we were headed to East Chicago to attend the special Good Friday Fish Fry hosted by the good folks at the local American Legion. Maybe they came by the carloads later but I was kind of surprised that there wasn't a line out the door for this fry like there was at the KoC a few Friday's before. They have an entire dining room behind the bar area as well as a banquet room setup for their Monthly Fry's which are held the first Friday of each month.

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    View from the end of the bar

    As is the case with pretty much everyplace on this old school roundup, we brought the age median down upon entering. Although not the usual decade as they had some regulars in their 40's and 50's here who obviously come to each one to drink and schmooze. The list on the wall of past and present commanders and high ranking officials within the club had as many last names ending in czo, icz and ski as the Yellow Pages from the 1950's had around this way.

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    Your Menu

    The reason I say this tour will have to continue is this was one of if not the best plate of lake perch I've ate. Not just that but also the biggest steal of a deal as $12 gets you 8 expertly fried filets. The batter was fantastic and you'll notice for most of these places I didn't really mention the fries or sides and that's because they let the fish shine. No fresh cut fries here but they at least cooked them to a golden crisp. I tried some of the walleye, cod, and shrimp from my buddies fisherman's platter and all were perfectly fried just like the perch. I might be a regular at these.

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    Lake Perch Fish Fry

    The American Legion
    1401 W Chicago Ave
    East Chicago, IN 46312
    (219) 398-1802
  • Post #12 - February 27th, 2015, 11:00 am
    Post #12 - February 27th, 2015, 11:00 am Post #12 - February 27th, 2015, 11:00 am
    Lenten season is here but you don't need to go go to The Flamingo Lounge on a Friday during it just to get some fish. This historic Gary, Indiana restaurant now located on Miller Beach serves plates of lake perch year-round. While the old school neon sign is gone most of the bars charm inside remains intact.

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    Gary IN

    Opened in 1941 as a lounge serving pizza I read elsewhere that it was one of the first pizzerias in the state. The current owners added a dining room addition onto the bar and to keep the local feel they sourced the building material from other local establishments now out of business. We stopped in out of season thus there were locals cuddled up at the bar smoking cigarettes watching football and not much else going on. Lake Perch was lightly dusted and very flaky, both good in my book. Extra points for the cup of drawn butter included with each order.

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    Plate of Lake Perch

    Flamingo Pizza of Miller
    8341 Locust Ave
    Gary, IN 46403
    (219) 938-0323
  • Post #13 - July 10th, 2015, 8:02 am
    Post #13 - July 10th, 2015, 8:02 am Post #13 - July 10th, 2015, 8:02 am
    Da Beef wrote:
    Tradition's

    Image Image
    Highland IN

    Around 1910 a couple opened a saloon and boarding house called Grimmer's for folks traveling thru these parts. That place is what Tradition's is today. It's gone thru a few name changes as time has gone by with it's most recent fit a popular place for locals to eat and drink and catch all Chicago sports teams on TV. I had a tasty lake perch sandwich for lunch. It was more like some lightly dusted pieces of lake eerie perch served on some locally sourced rye but I liked. They say they also offer blue gill daily but didn't have it on either of my visits. No food on Sundays.

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    Lake Perch Sandwich
    ______________________



    Tradition's Restaurant and Pub
    2739 Highway Ave
    Highland, IN 46322
    (219) 838-3100



    needed some ordnance to celebrate the 4th, so we rolled over to Traditions for lunch last Friday - Great spot - Lake Perch or Bluegill lunch was like $9 - combo of the 2 was the same price - both nicely prepared -


    not to be lost in this meal was the beef dumpling soup - rich with spaetzle like dumplings. - excellent

    Overall a cool spot and my type of place - great rec. as usual.
  • Post #14 - July 11th, 2015, 11:26 am
    Post #14 - July 11th, 2015, 11:26 am Post #14 - July 11th, 2015, 11:26 am
    One of my boys is an avid lakefront fisherman, spends a lot of time between 31st St and Up North on shore for all kinds of species. He was all day yesterday in fishing boat tracking just for perch. They are far and in-between right now in July. Wasn't seeing the alewives either that are a normal food for perch.
  • Post #15 - November 30th, 2015, 9:45 am
    Post #15 - November 30th, 2015, 9:45 am Post #15 - November 30th, 2015, 9:45 am
    jimswside wrote:
    Da Beef wrote:
    Tradition's

    Image Image
    Highland IN

    Around 1910 a couple opened a saloon and boarding house called Grimmer's for folks traveling thru these parts. That place is what Tradition's is today. It's gone thru a few name changes as time has gone by with it's most recent fit a popular place for locals to eat and drink and catch all Chicago sports teams on TV. I had a tasty lake perch sandwich for lunch. It was more like some lightly dusted pieces of lake eerie perch served on some locally sourced rye but I liked. They say they also offer blue gill daily but didn't have it on either of my visits. No food on Sundays.

    Image
    Lake Perch Sandwich
    ______________________



    Tradition's Restaurant and Pub
    2739 Highway Ave
    Highland, IN 46322
    (219) 838-3100



    needed some ordnance to celebrate the 4th, so we rolled over to Traditions for lunch last Friday - Great spot - Lake Perch or Bluegill lunch was like $9 - combo of the 2 was the same price - both nicely prepared -


    not to be lost in this meal was the beef dumpling soup - rich with spaetzle like dumplings. - excellent

    Overall a cool spot and my type of place - great rec. as usual.


    Traditions was the choice for lunch this past Friday - their $9 lunch plate of perch is a fantastic deal -

    Image

    Chuck & Irenes has been on my list since I saw it posted upthread - thankfull for all the perch rec's here.

    Image

    got in for a beer and a shot($4.50) - 21 and over only - A Classic joint - dont act like a clown or a turd and you will be prolly' be alright.

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