STRUTHERS, Ohio (WYTV) – Churches are responsible for the bulk of booming Lenten fish sales, but there’s a small operation doing big business in Struthers capable of satisfying your appetite.
Bill Prest started selling pierogies two years ago in a one-fryer operation in Struthers inside the Pink Flamingo. By himself, Prest makes 2,000 pierogies a week.
Then he started Fish Fridays last year, which took off quickly.
“Then boom! Right when Lent hit, COVID-19 hit. So we just happened to be here selling fish,” Prest said.
He sold 150 pieces of fish last week and said it was his biggest fish sale ever. He’s ordered over 200 pieces of fish for Friday night.
Prest knows his way around the kitchen. The space he’s using for Fish Fridays is a little cramped, but it’s working.
“We have one fryer so we’re pumping out a lot of fish. It’s been phenomenal. If I could sell fish every day, this is what I would do.
Prest runs Julian Gray’s catering and has three helpers.
They prepare the haddock either fried or baked. The meal comes with two sides, all homemade. People can also pick up a baked treat, the normal items featured at the Pink Flamingo.
Prest recognizes that people have gotten used to phoning in orders for take out. But he also knows word of mouth has hooked a lot of people.
“Our numbers were way above Lent last year. And now people are sharing it, loving it, talking about it. So that’s a great thing,” he said.
Prest says the catering business was destroyed when COVID-19 started a year ago. The fish sales are netting a profit, while he waits for that business to return.