Although I know very little about lent, I thought it might be wise to incorporate Coleman's Fish Market into this blog thing. Friday is always a big day for this place in Center Wheeling. The place really picks up when it's lent. My favorite time of year is lent - I like watching men and women in professional attire with ashes on their forehead. One of my favorite pasttimes is yelling at people, "Hey dirtbag, wipe that crud off your forehead. This ain't no Shawshank prison, bitch." You might get the impression that I'm not a big fan of lent. Nothing could be further from the truth. I like it slightly more than Ramadan. I think they both last a month or so. One question, why do people consider that abstaining from meat is a big sacrifice? What's the deal anyway - does that include chicken? It's just red meat, right?
Anyway, Coleman's used to be a pigeon infested open-air colusseum-like establishment. They enclosed the place around the time Reagan got shot and it's much better. I doubt the 2 events were related.
First off, if you're from out of town, this place can be very confusing. The have two separate ordering lines. In one of the lines, you can order Canadian Whitefish instead of the regular pollock. This really makes for a special fish consumption experience - hence, it's called the special line. Out of towners have no clue and they often get in the wrong line.
Also, there seems to be some sort of verbally abbreviated ordering process only apparent to the indigenous folks of Benwood. For example, a person from, let's say Zanesville, would say, "I'll have one fish Sandwich , a clam chowder and one cole slaw." An old guy from Wheeling will bark, "Gimme 1 fish-bread separate, 8 tartar, 1 chowder and a slaw. Yeah, 8 tarter should do it."
The food - avoid the egg rolls, they used to be good. Nowadays, they suck. The fried shrimp are decent and the fish sandwiches are almost always good. Unfortunately, they have to raise the price of a fish sandwich by 3 cents every year or so. This sends the locals into a frenzied tailspin. Thus, they have to justify it in writing by posting notes about the never-ending fish shortage or the Wonderbread embargo. Trust me, these old-timers will bitch for weeks about how they live on a fixed income and it just ain't fair. Then, it's off to church bingo where they lose a hundred bucks.
All in all, Coleman's is a legendary Wheeling establishment. Probably one of the most financially successful restaurants in the area. It's not really a restaurant though, more like a bazaar. I go there about once a month.