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If you didn't pre-order, be prepared to wait for fish on Good Friday

The phone has been ringing off the hook for days at Archie's Fish and Chips on Wharncliffe Road, as people pre-order their meals for Good Friday.

Archie's Fish and Chips is one of many restaurants where the phone has been ringing off the hook

The phone has been ringing off the hook all week at seafood restaurants such as Archie's Fish and Chips in London, Ont., where people are placing pre-orders so they don't have to wait in line on Good Friday. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

Good Friday takes a month of preparation for Tanya Thomas. 

"It's our busiest day of the year. It's absolutely insane," she said. "Everybody comes in for their fish and chips." 

Thomas is the manager of Archie's Fish and Chips on Wharncliffe Road, a building that's hard to miss with its nautical-themed blue clapboard and miniature lighthouse.

To avoid waiting in line on Good Friday, people have been calling the restaurant all week, placing pre-orders for haddock, halibut, salmon or pollock, battered and deep fried to golden brown. 

If you didn't pre-order, be prepared to wait for fish on Good Friday 1:12

"It has since Monday," she said. "I have five pages full of timed orders, pre-orders." 

It's so many, that Thomas is bringing in three staff, who will be solely devoted to take out orders on Friday. 

"Take out just takes over," she said, noting most orders going out the door are at least eight pieces of fish, plus chips. "Usually we're feeding entire families." 

Her biggest take out order by far on Good Friday is a local church group. They ordered enough for 75. 

"I have a $1,400 order," she said. "That's just the start of my day. It's about 78 pieces of fish." 

2,500 pounds of potatoes

It takes 2,500 pounds of potatoes just to put the 'chips' in fish and chips on Good Friday. Archie's will use every last spud on the big day. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

It's not just fish that's flying out the door, most plates need a side of chips to go with them. Thomas has 2,500 pounds of potatoes stacked in the back, an amount she said the restaurant will easily go through on Good Friday alone. 

"Everyone expects french fries," she said. 

After 15 years of slinging fried fish with a side of chips and coleslaw to the masses, Thomas has Good Friday down to a science.

It's why she assures anyone who didn't pre-order before the big day that they can still get their fish, but they need to be prepared to wait. 

"Last year, it was well organized, the wait was only 30 minutes," she said, noting it used to be an hour.  

Thomas said if you didn't pre-order your fish before Friday, you can still get it, just be prepared to wait. 

"There's a lineup out the door outside to the road," she said. "We have waiting lists."

It's why she suggests that anyone planning to dine in, or casually phone the place up and put in an order, had better pack some patience. 

"On Good Friday at a fish restaurant you don't have 10 minutes to spare," she said. "You don't think, you just go with it."

About the Author

Colin Butler

Video Journalist

Colin Butler is a veteran CBC reporter who's worked in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and London, Ont. Email: colin.butler@cbc.ca

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