The Friday fish fry tradition in Sturgeon Bay is alive and well. These are the best Sturgeon Bay fish fry restaurants.
While most restaurants offered fried fish in Sturgeon Bay, I selected these restaurants based on the following criteria:
- They offer fish fry specials, especially on Friday
- My own personal experience with these restaurants. I don’t recommend anywhere I wouldn’t go.
- The opinions of others. Speaking of which:
What are your favorite fish fries in Sturgeon Bay? Let me know in the comments at the bottom of the post.
5 Best Fish Fry Restaurants in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Most restaurants in Sturgeon Bay offer Friday fish fry specials, but these are the ones I recommend to visitors on a regular basis. If you’re open to venturing further, there are fish fries all over the rest of Door County as well.
Nightingale Supper Club
The Nightingale Supper Club serves fish fries on Wednesdays and Fridays. Patrons can choose from perch, walleye, cod, and locally caught whitefish. Rye bread, coleslaw, and one additional side complement the fish.
The Nightingale is where Door County locals go to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary. To a Door County local, the Nightingale is the fancy place to eat. And, its decor does have a certain retro upscale feel to it.
However, the dress is comfortable. The ladies pair a sweater with jeans, and the men don their nicest hoodies. Yes, there’s such a thing as a “nice hoodie” for locals in North East Wisconsin.
Despite being full of locals, there’s still a place for you at the Nightingale. Get a reservation, show up early to sit at the bar, top off your dinner with an ice cream drink, and you’ll be an honorary citizen of Sturgeon Bay.
Make sure to check out our review post about Nightingale Supper Club to learn more about this Sturgeon Bay institution.
Waterfront Mary’s offers an excellent fish fry every Friday night as their dinner special. Waterfront Mary’s is a popular haunt for Door County locals and has a fun, party atmosphere
In addition to fish fry, they have a full menu offering burgers, wraps, steaks, ahi tuna, pizza, and more, choices that will please a wide swath of people.
Also, Waterfront Mary’s offers a unique fish boil experience. Instead of Lake Michigan whitefish or trout, they use cod in their boils.
We go to Waterfront Mary’s when we are looking for an upbeat, fun experience on a Friday night.
Donny’s Glidden Lodge offers pan-fried walleye nightly. In addition, they serve blackened yellowfin tuna, jumbo shrimp, and lobster.
For those who prefer other menu options, lamb and beef dishes round out the offerings at Donny’s Glidden Lodge.
With a dramatic setting right on the shores of Lake Michigan, Donny’s Glidden Lodge Restaurant offers an unforgettable dining experience. The building and grounds of this classic Door County supper club are timeless and classy. It seems that not much has changed over the decades at this supper club, and that’s a good thing. Just like Lake Michigan itself, it seems that Donny’s Glidden Lodge has always been there, and that it will be the same the next time you come, whether that’s in a month or in a decade.
People tend to dress a little nicer at Donny’s Glidden Lodge, and given its location next to the Glidden Lodge Beach Resort, it caters to many out-of-towners.
We like to go here when we are looking for a more upscale experience.
The Mill Supper Club
Right on the way to the Northern Peninsula, The Mill is a Door County institution. Steeped in the traditions of Northeast Wisconsin, their menu has a German specialties section, and this is a favorite spot for Friday night fish fries.
Their Friday night fish fry offers cod, shrimp, perch, scallops, whitefish, and walleye. Cole slaw, potato, and rye bread is served along with the fish.
Customers appreciate the cool old barback and the bright, clean atmosphere in the dining area.
The Mill Supper Club is Hello Door County’s pick for Friday night fish fry in Door County.
We go to The Mill Supper Club for fish fry when we are looking for a classic experience close to Sturgeon Bay.
Kitty O’Reilly’s is my favorite restaurant in Sturgeon Bay, hands-down. And, I’m not alone.
Kitty O’Reilly’s is that rare place that everyone likes it – from welders in Sturgeon Bay’s shipyards, to soccer moms, to hipsters. There’s something about it that makes everyone feel at home there.
Kitty O’Reilly’s offers fish fry specials every Friday night, including cod, perch, salmon, and shrimp. All offerings come with coleslaw and fries.
The History of Fish Fries in Wisconsin
The Friday fish fry has its roots in Christian piety. In the Middle Ages, Christians would refrain from eating meat on Fridays as a way of honoring the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. Instead of meat, many people would eat fish instead. This is still a requirement for Roman Catholics during Lent.
Because of this, fish fries are popular in Sturgeon Bay (and all of Wisconsin), especially during Lent. However, you can find Friday fish fries in Sturgeon Bay all year long.
Whether you are a Christian or not, you are welcome to participate in the Friday fish fry tradition, and these best Sturgeon Bay fish fry restaurants will leave you satisfied.
More About Sturgeon Bay
Sturgeon Bay is the county seat of Door County, and the only city in the county. It is located on the Bay of Sturgeon Bay, an arm of Green Bay, which is itself an arm of Lake Michigan.
Sturgeon Bay is a working city, with shipyards, manufacturing, and agriculture the backbone of the economy. However. it is also a popular spot for visitors.
To learn more about this city, check out our comprehensive page on Sturgeon Bay. There, you’ll learn more about things to do in Sturgeon Bay, more Sturgeon Bay dining options, and lodging in Sturgeon Bay.
Frequently Asked Questions
A fish fry is a traditional meal in Wisconsin that usually consists of battered and fried fish, typically cod or perch, served with sides like fries, coleslaw, and rye bread. It’s a popular Friday night dining option and often served in restaurants, taverns, and churches.
Some of the best places to have fish fry in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin include Nightingale Supper Club, Waterfront Mary’s, and Kitty O’Reilly’s. However, there are many other establishments that offer delicious fish fry options as well.
Fish fry season in Wisconsin, including in Door County, typically runs from late winter to early spring, starting around Ash Wednesday and ending around Easter. However, many places offer fish fry year-round. Fridays are the most popular day for fish fry, but some places also offer it on other days of the week.
- Friday fish fries are popular events in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
- Friday fish fries have their roots in Christian piety.
- Fish fries can be found throughout Sturgeon Bay on Fridays.