There's no shortage of fish fries around the Mahoning Valley during the Lenten season!

As dozens of Catholics and seafood lovers feast on fish each Friday, 21 News stopped by the area's favorite spots to learn more about the popularity of fish fries.

The Catholic tradition made its way to America in the 1800s, when German and Polish immigrants moved into the Midwest area. Fish fries took off in the 1920s when pubs were unable to sell beer during Prohibition, so they sold fish instead to stay in business. Now, the concept is like second nature here in the Midwest and Mahoning Valley.

One of the most popular spots in the area is St. Brendan's on the West Side. Volunteers explained it's common for cars to wrap around the building as they wait to pick up dinner for their families. Organizers said they sometimes sell out when demand is higher than supply. 

"We have become very, very popular," said Patty Infante, Coordinator of St. Brendan's Fish Fry. "Most of the people working in the kitchen have been here a long time and over the years it's just gotten better and better and better."

Infante has been in charge of Saint Brendan's fish fry for 25 years. She said the tradition does more than fill up hungry stomachs but it more importantly strengthens the community bond during Lent.

"This is the biggest fundraiser we do and we've grown over the years," Infante added. "The first two weeks we sold out and people had to be turned away and they weren't happy," she joked.

"I volunteer at St. Brendan's fish fry every Lenten season," said Parishioner David McClain. "My favorite part is helping out. I have so much joy talking with people as they pick up their food as we await the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

Crowds pack spots like the Post Office Pub in Mineral Ridge to get a taste of their Lenten specials.

The restaurant offers homemade panko breading and homemade mac and cheese. Managers told 21 News they turn a large profit during Lenten Fridays. 

St. Christine's in Cornersburg feeds over 600 people each Friday. Their revenue typically goes toward St. Christine School's operating expenses.

"Everything that's spent here by the community goes back to help our school," explained John McNally, Coordinator of St. Christine's Fish Fry. "So, we're appreciative of that. We have some thoughts on how we want to spend the money from last year's event."

Those enjoying the food and company leave with a full stomach and full heart as the Lenten season just wouldn't be the same without the classic fish fry.

"It's a community event for the church itself and the parish but we got a lot of people from across the City of Youngstown and around the area," McNally added. "So, the opportunity to feed people on Fridays during Lent and on Ash Wednesday is something we enjoy."

Click here for a full list of Fish Fries around the Mahoning Valley.

Easter Sunday is set for March 31 this spring.