The Dish

Simple. Tasty. Affordable. And rich with Lansing history


This week’s featured flavor to savor may be the longest continuously operating food special in the Capital City.  

It’s the Friday fish fry at Harry’s Bar & Grill, which has been steadily churning out affordable, flavorful, above-average bar fare since the watering hole first opened in 1921. 

The unassuming two-story building on Verlinden street has survived through thick and thin — including prohibition, a dearth of regular customers caused by the closure of General Motors’ nearby Fisher Body plant and, of course, it also weathered through the COVID-19 pandemic. But don’t be deterred by its plain-Jane appearance: There’s a reason the family-owned bar has managed to survive so long — and it’s in no small part because of its consistently tasty grub. 

While the most endearing feature of the neighborhood bar may be the friendly atmosphere, the mouthwatering three- and five-piece cod dinners it cooks up every Friday are hard to beat. And judging by the crowd in the dining room last week, I’m clearly not the only fan of the cuisine. 

Unlike some restaurants that fry up their Friday fish dinners exclusively for Lent, Harry’s Place churns them out all year long. The three-piece plate is $12.95. For an extra four bucks, you can get two more pieces. It’s just beer-battered cod, so don’t expect anything too eccentric. But over the decades, they’ve perfected the dish to feature a light, crunchy and consistent layer of batter. 

Each bite provides a mouthful of succulent fish; never doughy wads of underdone batter. And while I usually tend to avoid cod because of its bland flavor profile, Harry’s Place makes it work. All-you-can-eat dinners have ended, but five pieces were plenty enough to satisfy my appetite. 

Each platter also comes served up with your standard fare French fries and coleslaw, the latter usually absolutely smattered in black pepper. I’d recommend swapping out the slaw for a side salad, which the staff will be more than happy to accommodate.  

And don’t forget to wash it all down with an ice-cold beer: Harry’s Place added several craft beer options (rather than just Bud Light) shortly after the assembly plant closed to help draw in some younger crowds. It worked. 

Dish, affordable, food, fish


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