Mike Goulah, owner of The Walking Moustache, hustles into the kitchen and comes back with a plate full of tradition. One half of the dish boasts a large slab of beer-battered and deep-fried tilapia, while the other half is covered with a mound of french fries and a bowl of coleslaw. It's Lent—the six weeks before Easter when Christians make sacrifices to prepare for the holiest of holy days—and the time-honored Roman Catholic practice of forgoing meat and sticking to fish dinner on Friday night has found a home at this 24-hour restaurant on the corner of Ryman and Main.
"It has always been a Lenten thing and so I decided to offer something that I grew up with when I was a kid: an old-fashioned fish fry," says Goulah, who grew up Catholic and attends St. Francis Xavier Church. "It's a special. The price is less, and the response is good."
He is selling the fish dinner for $10 and a fish sandwich during lunch for $8.
The fish is salty, mild and not too heavy on the home-made batter. It goes down easy with a forkful of coleslaw, and patrons get to choose between tilapia or walleye pike.
Goulah says it's not just churchgoers and pious pescetarians who come in for the fry. The Walking Moustache, which opened just nine months ago, has become a reliable source of sustenance for the downtown bar crowd.
"We have a pretty good late night [crowd], and a lot of them eat the fish fry," says Goulah, smiling. "They aren't the traditional Lent crowd."
Where to get the fish: To try the Lenten fish fry, head to The Walking Moustache at 206 W. Main St. It's open 24 hours a day, six days a week, and closed on Mondays.
Hangriest Hour serves up fresh details on western Montana eats. To recommend a restaurant, dish or chef for Hangriest Hour, email email@example.com.