Lent and seafood go hand in fin.
And McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish, a 54-year fixture, is one of the most popular menu items, especially on the Fridays leading up to Easter, a time when many Catholics forgo meat.
According to McDonald’s, the sandwich dates to 1962 when Lou Groen, who owned the first McDonald’s restaurant in Cincinnati, came up with the idea. Groen’s restaurant was in a predominantly Roman Catholic neighborhood, and he noticed a decrease in sales on Fridays.
In 1965, the Filet-O-Fish was the first addition to McDonald’s original menu and was the only non-hamburger option at the time.
“The Filet-O-Fish has become a popular menu item enjoyed by millions of customers around the world,” said McDonald’s Company Historian Mike Bullington in a 2016 blog post.
Lent is a time for prayer and self-examination, but fasting doesn't have to mean going hungry. Here's some options for the modern Christian. Wochit
Fish-fil-A?: Chick-fil-A serves up fish sandwiches for Lent, now through April 20
March freebies: Your monthly guide to food specials, meal deals and more
McDonald’s says it uses solely Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified wild-caught Alaska Pollock for its Filet-O-Fish sandwiches sold at its U.S. locations.
In 2016, the company said it sells nearly 25 percent of its fish sandwiches during the Lenten Season.
While the Filet-O-Fish is available all year at all U.S. McDonald’s, other fast-food chains and restaurants add more seasonal seafood options to their menus for Lent.
On Wednesday, Chick-fil-A announced the return of its Fish Sandwich, which is available through April 20, the day before Easter, at participating restaurants.
Follow Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko