Learning the Real Deal at Anchor Fish and Chips

15 Mar
Midway through Lent and I am getting tired of tofu. During my meatless Lent, I need some kind of reason to keep going. The reason should be my desire to grow in virtue through self-denial. But what really keeps me going are fish and chips, specifically, the Anchor Fish and Chips.

How does one explain the fish and chips at the Anchor? I like the word Kathryn Hayes, one of the owners of Anchor, used: “divine.” You don’t need to bury these fish in tartar sauce; they stand alone. And the chips, they aren’t over-glorified French fries; they are the “real deal.” On top of that are other delicious dishes like the shepherd’s pie or the full whack Irish breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays. I even learn at the Anchor, for instance: there is such a thing as the perfect pour of Guinness, white vinegar is better than malt vinegar, and mushy peas aren’t just for babies.

When talking to Kathryn Hayes, I learned a few more things. Kathryn told me that the reason Luke, Jenny, and she (the three owners) focused on fish and chips is that they “were missing good fish and chips; we talked about it and decided to start a fish and chipper.” And thus a new expression came into my life: Anchor isn’t just a restaurant; it is a fish and chipper. The vision they had, grew from the idea of a food cart to the small red restaurant with a long line of eager patrons every night.

Why wait for such a simple meal? It is not just that the food is great; it is the love that the owners and employees have for the place and for their customers. Kathryn told me that she “love[s] the place and I love our employees. People are relaxed and shouting because of their comfort level . . . the big thing is: we take care of everyone who comes in, we are watching for you, caring for you.” Even while you’re waiting, you know that the staff can’t wait to seat you, bring you a pint, and fill you with the kind of fare that makes this Irish American miss the ‘old country.’

In the end, I get more than just fish and chips at the Anchor: I get the sense of community. Kathryn told me she didn’t plan all this, didn’t know the Anchor would be a hot spot, didn’t think of Lent as being its best season. But somehow, by starting a real fish and chipper, she, Luke and Jenny managed to make a place that is “humane, warm, and welcoming of everyone.” That is what is great about Anchor: it reminds Catholics and all people that we should be building a world and a Church where people are welcomed and taken care of. Amidst all the fasting, it has been the feasting on fish and chips that has taught me to say to everyone, especially at Mass, what they say at the Anchor: “You are very welcome here. Slainte!”

302 13th Avenue Northeast
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 676-1300
-Terence Sweeney

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