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Benton Evening News - Benton, IL
  • Jim Hillibish: This year, Lent gets fishy, fast

  • In our Catholic communities, the offering of seafood for Lent can make or break a restaurant. Catholics age 14 and older shun meat on Fridays during Lent to honor the Passion of Jesus. Here’s a look at the fast-food offerings.

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  • On the heels of Mardi Gras, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 22 and runs until Easter Sunday on April 8. It signals to restaurants the big rush to eat seafood.
    In our Catholic communities, the offering of seafood for Lent can make or break a restaurant. Catholics age 14 and older shun meat on Fridays during Lent to honor the Passion of Jesus.
    The event causes restaurants to jiggle their menus. Pizzerias witness a 50 percent sales hike for vegetarian pies. Seafood restaurants, such as Red Lobster and Long John Silvers, hit their busiest season.
    Here’s a look at the fast-food action, provided in part by Sue Yannello of the Blimpie sandwich chain:
    • Blimpie campaigns to move tuna subs and melts over their turkey and roast-beef favorites.
    • Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen offers deals on shrimp items.
    • Wendy’s temporarily rolls out a premium fish filet.
    • Arby’s presents a fried Pollock sandwich, limited time, two for one.
    • KFC since 2007 markets a Fish Stacker made of fried Alaskan Pollock.
    • Taco Bell engineers a marinated shrimp taco and burrito.
    • The BK Big Fish is caught at Burger King, on a cornmeal-dusted bun.
    • Rally’s stacks two fried fish filets with lettuce and cheese into one Crispy Flaky.
    McDonald’s will be celebrating its signature Filet-O-Fish sandwich, an item born of the Lenten Season. It was invented in Cincinnati by McDonald’s operator Lou Goren in 1962.
    Lou’s restaurant, in a predominately Catholic district, faced ruin at Lent. He developed the batter and tartar sauce and sold 350 sandwiches on the first day.
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