By Jack Yu and Daniel Gatta
Trade in your double bacon cheeseburger for a fried catfish sandwich.
Beginning on March 3, Local Burger in Bayshore implemented “Fish Fry Friday’s,” during which they offer a few different fish entrees in order to provide Catholic customers with non-meat options during Lent.
“We wanted to draw in more people, specifically Catholics who can’t eat meat during Lent,” Annaliese Horstmann, Assistant Manager of Local Burger, said. “We also wanted our regular customers to keep coming in and not turn us away just because it’s Friday.”
Lent is a six-week-long religious season celebrated by Christians. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday in March and culminates in April, honoring the resurrection of Jesus Christ. During Lent, Christians are not allowed to eat meat on Fridays.
“For Christians, it’s, in a small way, uniting ourselves with the sacrifices made by Jesus Christ, of whom we profess our faith,” Sister Lisa Bergeron, Director of Social Parish Ministry at St. John Nepomucene in Bohemia, said. “Abstaining from consuming meat on Friday’s is a sacrifice we make in order to strengthen our relationship with Jesus.”
Local Burger, as one can tell from the name, is a restaurant that primarily serves hamburgers and entrees that include meat. The restaurant has received positive feedback from customers who observe Lent since “Fish Fry Friday’s” began four weeks ago.
Dietary restrictions and fasting during certain time of the year are not particular to Christianity. Judaism, Islam, and other religions have similar practices at different times of their biblical calendars.
“In Judaism, there are periods of fasting but for all foods, not just meat. In Islam, there is fasting during Ramadan, but again, no foods are specifically excluded, there are just long periods of time they must go without food or water,” Christina Traina, Religion expert and professor at Northwestern University, said. “What fasting involves varies by tradition and belief.”
Horstmann says Local Burger embraces customers of all religious backgrounds and aims to always provide them with an ideal menu and dining experience.
“We are always brewing up new ideas and menu options,” Horstmann said. “In regards to implementing anything after Fish Fry Fridays, it’s definitely a possibility but nothing is in the works as of now. We respect people of all religions and if possible are always looking for ways to accommodate them.”
The last “Fish Fry Friday” will occur on Good Friday, the final Friday before Easter on April 16th.