After being at the helm for 15 years, Joe Witomski has decided to retire his responsibilities associated with the Dundalk Knights of Columbus ‘world famous fish fry.”
Witomski said he held a fish fry when he was living in Florida, and then started one in Dundalk 15 years ago. He moved back to Baltimore and transferred to the Dundalk Knights of Columbus council. He said he talked with Ron Gontasz, who is taking over the fish fry this year.
“We thought about what we could do to bring some money in,” Witomski said. “I said, ‘well, I think a fish fry would do it.’”
Witomski said Gontasz told him that a fish fry would never work. “I said ‘at least give me a shot and see what happens,’” he said.
What did happen is an average of at least $15,000 per year in profits. That money is donated to charities and religious organizations, Gontasz said.
Witomski said he is currently 88 years old, soon to turn 89. Gontasz offered to take over the fish fry now that Witomski is stepping down, Witomski said.
“So far, he’s done a pretty good job,” Witomski said.
Also stepping away from the KOC fish fry is Witomski’s wife, Connie, who carries the title “coleslaw queen.” The recipe is a hit with customers, she said, as she adds extra mayonnaise and sugar.
“I won’t say how much, because then I will be giving my recipe away,” she said.
Along with the Alaskan pollock, Connie Witomski’s coleslaw has been the biggest hit over the past 15 years, Joe Witomski said. The reason the fish has been so loved by the community, he said, is because of the way it is prepared. The platter mix is sifted, something a lot of fish fries do not do, he said.
“Once you sift that, you put in the deep fryer, and you have a perfect piece of fish,” Witomski said.
Witomski said he and his team call themselves the “we team,” because no one on the team considers themselves a “me” or an “I.” That is what has made the fish fry famous as well as profitable, he said.
Witomski said he has been a part of the Knights of Columbus since 1986 when he was living in Florida. Originally from Dundalk, Witomski said he and his wife returned to Dundalk because they used to constantly travel back and forth from Florida to Maryland to visit her 13 grandchildren. They finally decided to move back in 2002. That is when Witomski transferred to the Dundalk Knights of Columbus.
For now, they will take a backseat from all the preparation and selling meals to the community. Gontasz said he plans to run the fish fry the same way now that he is in charge.
“If something runs good, keep it,” he said. “I call Joe for advice. We still have all the same suppliers and everything.”
Serving delicious Alaskan pollock, fries, cole slaw, a roll, beverages and dessert, the Dundalk Knights of Columbus fish fry will run every Friday from now until April 10. Beer and wine will be available at an additional cost. Meals will be served from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and will cost $13. Carry-out meals cost $14. Everyone is invited and welcome to dine in at 2111 Eilers Ave. in Dundalk, next to the fire house.