For Kegel’s Inn in West Allis, serving up fish fry on Fridays during Lent is a well-established tradition.
And during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s proven to be a lifeline, providing one of a few profitable seasons for the 95-year-old German restaurant.
“Fish fry has been monumental to the whole life of the business,” said Julian Kegel, a fourth-generation owner of Kegel’s Inn. “It’s the one time of the year we can count on keeping staff on and hiring extra people and making sure the business flourishes.”
In what ended up being fortuitous timing, Kegel’s Inn transitioned from an analog system to a point-of-sale system in November 2019, allowing the restaurant to offer a drive-thru option in time for Lent 2020. On Good Friday, the restaurant served up about 1,300 drive-thru fish fry orders, which was more than double its dine-in business in a typical year. Kegel said he expects similar demand this year.