The $10 Challenge: Hill Street Fish Fry

My dog is a horrible dining companion. 

Yet I’ve become an enabler of Roscoe’s bad habits by including him in another $10 Challenge.  

Since Roscoe enjoyed the Moby Dick Challenge so much, I thought I’d let him be my wingman for this week’s trip to Hill Street Fish Fry. 

The restaurant, located in Old Louisville, boasts that it offers three different kinds of fish (catfish, white fish and perch) and “the best rolled oysters in town” that are served year-round. The menu also offers scallops, shrimp and chicken if the aforementioned proteins don’t appeal to you. 

The fish is either served as a sandwich ($4.79 to $6.29) or a dinner that includes fries, slaw and a hush puppy ($6.79 to $8.49). The oysters and scallops are (understandably) the most expensive items on the menu — oyster and scallop dinners are $10.39 each. 

I called Hill Street Fish Fry to place my order, a practice the restaurant encourages for faster service. I’ve been on a catfish kick lately, so I had been thinking all day about a catfish dinner for $8.49 that I would order. Too bad the restaurant had run out of catfish by about 6:30 p.m. But this is the risk you take when ordering from a small, local diner, so I quickly switched my order to the Cajun-style perch dinner for the same price as the catfish dinner. I added an extra hush puppy for 43 cents since the fried ball of batter is one of Roscoe’s favorites. 

Fifteen minutes later and a short walk with Roscoe later, my order was ready. To say Hill Street Fish Fry is tiny is an understatement. The dining area has a few mismatched tables and chairs squeezed into a room that is arguably the size of my living room. No matter — I was taking my meal home with me. 

I expected to fork over a little under nine bucks at the register. Then a handwritten sign informed me that if I used a debit card, there would be a 50 cent fee (I left my cash at home). Then the man at the register asked me if I wanted tartar sauce, which would be an extra 15 cents (of course, I did). I began to get a little squeamish about whether or not I could meet the Challenge requirements with the last-minutes extras. 


It ain't catfish, but perch will do.

I could smell the Cajun seasoning on the perch as soon as I opened the container. A bite revealed the familiar tang of Tabasco sauce. The coating was coarse and crisp around the flaky fish. The order included three fillets, a blessing to my stomach. 

Unfortunately, the backup singers didn’t follow to the lead’s performance. The crinkle-cut fries were limp and cold, though still edible. And the slaw, which tasted decent, was a little too juicy for my taste: 

Cabbage in mayo soup, aka coleslaw.

During my meal, Roscoe paced and let out a couple of squeals as he waited for his treat — a hush puppy. The pup and I really liked this side. The flavors of the batter didn’t scream out, but it was good in its plainness. 

I had a full belly, a satisfied dog and five extra cents from this Challenge. But next time, I think I’ll skip most of the extras of the dinner and just have the cheaper option of a fish sandwich. 

Notes on Hill Street Fish Fry: 

  • The restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
  • Bring cash to avoid a 50 cent charge for using a bank card.
  • Call ahead for speedy service.

The Stats: 

  • Hill Street Fish Fry, 111 East Hill Street, Louisville, Ky.
  • Cajun-style perch fish dinner: $8.49
  • Extra hush puppy: 43 cents
  • Tartar sauce: 15 cents
  • Debit card charge: 50 cents
  • Total (with tax): $9.95

Mission: Accomplished (it was a close one) 

3 thoughts on “The $10 Challenge: Hill Street Fish Fry

  1. i woulda been a bit miffed at the debit card fee,
    and being charged for tarter sauce,
    and the bad cole slaw (if i like cole slaw)
    and the cold fries.

    at least you liked your fish.

  2. i’m almost positive it’s against the law and rules of mastercard/visa/logo to charge for a debit card fee and and fee to use any charge card. it’s in the bylaws when a merchant signs up. no fees are to be collected from a customer.

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