This wasn’t just a fish fry, but a passport into a flavorful facet of Cleveland’s Czech culture and a way to explore the area’s historic architecture. Though you may often cruise along Broadway Avenue, the fish fry is a way into one of the most ornate buildings on the street.
Once inside the Bohemian National Hall, follow the sounds and smells to the fry. In the dining room, a sense of camaraderie was obvious. We asked a couple if we could join them. Before our food was ready, we were in pleasant conversation with our table companions. They shared experiences of travel to the Czech Republic as well as information about the local community and the historic building itself.
With your fish, order a Czechvar lager (or three). A trademark dispute had long kept the Bohemian — many would say the original — version of Budweiser off of American shelves. It’s been resolved now, and Sokol serves the Czech Republic beer. The cod is tasty, but save room for the apple crumb pastry, which is worth the trip by itself.
And if you make some friends, you might end up on a personal tour of Sokol’s Czech Museum and the Hall. 4939 Broadway Ave., Cleveland, (216) 641-9777, sokolgreatercleveland.org; Third Friday of the month, 5 to 7:30 p.m.; $6.50