McClure’s Fish House and More: Meadville’s newest Black-owned business


Sami Mirza

Haddock from McClure’s Fish House and More. The restaurant uses a family recipe, modified for the Meadville palate.

Just north of Arch St. on Park Ave. stands McClure’s Fish House and More, Meadville’s newest Black-owned business.

The establishment, the first of its kind since Meadville’s Long John Silver’s closed several years ago, offers five varieties of fish, chicken wings, chicken tenders, shrimp and more. Some also see the restaurant’s Aug. 21 opening as a step forward for Meadville’s — and Allegheny’s — Black community.

When I tried McClure’s for the first time, I ordered two pieces of their haddock and a side of cheese sticks. My first reaction upon opening up the take-out container was that I had gotten my money’s worth. The box was filled with two well-sized pieces of fish, both approximately eight inches long and around three to four inches wide. The fish came with a slice of bread, fries and tartar sauce, though the fries were completely covered by the fish.

Upon first taste, the haddock was savory, and unlike other fish I’ve tried, the flavor was strong and noticeable. Most of the taste did come from the breaded exterior, which is to be expected considering that is where most of the spices were.

In terms of texture and feel, it was quite firm and consistent, but a little dry without the tartar sauce, which ran out around one-third of the way through the haddock. That dryness was consistent throughout the meal, and I was glad to have a glass of water with me while I conducted my review.

Despite a 20 or-30 minute delay between when I got the food and when I tried it, the cheese sticks stayed warm. The exterior had remained stiff and crunchy, while the interior was still melted into a delightful mess of cheese.

The breaded exterior contained a hint of the same savory taste as the haddock, the first time I’ve experienced such a continuity across a meal. This savory flavor was, of course, quite good, and it was nice to taste the connection between the main course and the side dish.

However, like the haddock, the cheese sticks were a little dry, and again I found a simple glass of water to be quite helpful.

Overall, I would recommend McClure’s Fish House and More to my fellow students. Not only is the food flavored with an excellent blend of spices, but it’s also quite economical. For just under $17, I received two large pieces of fish and a decently sized set of sides, an amount of food easily amounting to a couple meals. Despite the pandemic, Maurice McClure, the owner of McClure’s Fish House, is feeling optimistic about the restaurant.

“Business has been good. We’re probably doubling our projections right now,” McClure said. “We’ve been getting a very good response from the city, from Allegheny students, from everybody in general.”

Nijon Kirkman ’21, director of social media for the Men of Color Advancement Association, was one such Allegheny student.

“I’m glad that there’s finally a Black-owned business near here that I can support, and try and go taste their food,” Kirkman said. “We’ve been trying to get a lot of people on campus to go and visit it and spread the word about it because it’s not only setting an example for us, but it’s setting an example for younger (people) in the future, that anything is possible.”

For McClure, a Meadville native and graduate of Meadville High School, the opening of his restaurant was the culmination of a lifelong dream.

“I’m not sure I was thinking about a restaurant when I was a kid, but I always wanted to own something in Meadville, just didn’t know what, as I was growing up,” McClure said. “But to have your dream come true in your hometown, a lot of people can’t say that.”

Because of his local connections, McClure isn’t concerned the current racial and political tension seen across the nation will manifest in his establishment.

“To me, it’s not a worry,” McClure said. “We’re a respected family out here. I do worry for others. I think about it for others. When I go to the bars, or to the restaurants, we don’t get into those types of debates and conversations because everyone has their opinion, and they can go for it if they want, but I prefer it not to be on my time.”

Kirkman sees McClure as an example for how to trailblaze as a Black business owner in an area with few Black-owned businesses.

“(McClure’s Fish House is) showing that they don’t care what people think, and they want to strive to make a change, and it starts there, it starts here,” Kirkman said. “It gives me the power, the will to one day start a business in a community that really doesn’t have Black-owned businesses”

McClure also wanted to encourage people to pursue their aspirations and goals.

“Don’t be scared to chase a dream,” McClure said. “If you feel it in your heart and you’re willing to give your time, if your family is willing to let you take that time, go for it.”