Imagine trimming, filleting, breading and frying 15,000 pounds of fish in preparation for one busy day. That's exactly what dozens of employees at Coleman's Fish in Center Market are doing, Good Friday being the biggest and busiest for owner Joe Coleman.
"This is the grand finale after seven weeks," said Coleman. "Well, our host sale crew and our retail crew have been cutting day and night almost just to get ready for our fish fry and all the other fish fry's around the Ohio Valley."
Joe expects to sell more than 4,000 fish sandwiches over the course of less than 12 hours and he relies on 40 staff members to get it done. When asked if he brought in extra staff for the day, Joe said, "No, that would just get confusing."
Cora Hess is celebrating her 27th Good Friday at Coleman's Fish Market
"I can't sleep on Thursdays, on Good Friday, because I like it!" she said.
I set out to ask people what makes a Coleman's Fish Sandwich so unique when there are plenty of choices all over the Ohio Valley. I caught up with Bruce Wheeler of Wheeling who said it makes a good breakfast! Protein, right?
"I think the way it's just always done properly," said Wheeler. "It comes out hot; it's moist on the inside, crisp on the outside. Perfect fish!"
Joe says he thinks it's because they stick to the old-fashioned values.
"Probably because we stick with the old fashioned values, we try to use as much fresh as possible and we try to use all the right oils and the right equipment so it's sort of a combination, like maybe tuning up a racecar, try to get all your ducks lined up in order to do it right," he said.
If you don't live near Wheeling, no worries, Coleman's Famous Fish is sold all over the Ohio Valley.
"From Sistersville to Weirton to Claysville, lots of places," Coleman said.