Fish Fridays: Wholey’s Fish Market

2 Mar

I know, I know…its predictable.

Give me a break, guys.

You can’t be near Wholey’s Fish Market any day of the week, much less Friday, and not want to stop for lunch.  But you better get there early people, because this line will wrap the ENTIRE way around the store.  UNLESS YOU WAY SMARTER THAN US AND KNEW YOU COULD CALL AHEAD AND PLACE AN ORDER OVER THE PHONE. 

It was so crowded I could barely snap pictures, so the photos of the building/location were taken from online.

Wholey’s has been a Pittsburgh staple since 1912 when it was founded by Robert Wholey in McKees Rocks.  It’s been a Strip District staple since the 1980s though, which means that during my lifetime – this place has been a top food destination for me.

See the outline of a fish on the outside?  At night, it looks like this…


Wholey’s is Pittsburgh’s biggest fishmonger – averaging 40,000 pounds of fish sold each week.  According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, this business increases 40% during the Lenten season.  So yeah, they pretty much know what they’re doing and you pretty much can’t go wrong.

First of all, its the closest thing Pittsburgh has to open-air fish market.  (Ok, only the Penn Ave. Fish Company comes closer.)

Second of all, it has a toy train that has been running longer than I’ve been alive.

Third, the food is amazing.  Actually the food being amazing would be enough for me.  While the MIL and her♥ jumped into the fish line, I jumped into Andy’s line…

He makes sushi right in front of you, made to order.  His line is ALWAYS s….l….o….w…….but worth every second of the wait.  He probably felt bad for me drooling all over his glass, so he let me sample one of his spring rolls.

You’re a smart man, Andy.  With especially good timing.

Needless to say I ordered a spring roll to go with my California roll.

Do you ever order food and know that it is the best food you’ve ever tasted and your mouth is watering and you open the lid and completely devour almost every single morsel?  And then realize that you write a blog that is doing a series of posts of Fish Fridays, so you should’ve probably taken a picture of your delicious meal?


At least one bite survived and I was able to take a breather before I started my sushi roll.


The MIL ordered a piece of fried cod (no bun, no frenchies) which was soooo yummy.  The breading at Wholey’s is always really thin (unlike say, Long John Silver’s), which means that you taste more of the fish.  She luckily spotted this side of lobster mac & cheese as well:

She♥ ordered the crab cakes, which seemed like they had no breadcrumb used for filler.  While this is a good thing, it did change the consistency of them, making them really chewy and mushy in the middle.  The taste was good if you could get over the texture.

I knew she♥ was a little disappointed and probably won’t get the crab cakes again.

What Fish Friday would be complete without a trip to the goodie table?  Don’t worry, the thickest, yummiest pizelles I’ve ever tasted and the gynormous lady locks definitely make up for the crab cakes…

Who says you have to eat fried fish during Lent?

Not us..

Wholey’s Fish Market
1711 Penn Ave.  Pittsburgh, PA
412-391-3737 to pick-up
Open most days until 5:30pm*




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