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Popular Binghamton Fish Fry, The Product Of An Equipment Delivery Mix-Up

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There's no shortage of fish fries on Good Friday, but for one Binghamton deli it's become a staple. The parking lot is full, and inside Di Rienzo Brothers bakery and deli, the line wraps around every inch of the little shop.

Behind the counter, employees are dishing up the Friday tradition to locals stopping in on their lunch breaks. A regular takes her package of fried fish with a  "thank you, dear," to the deli worker. On the busiest days, the line wraps around the parking lot, getting so busy, the small business has added an order ahead option. 

The story goes, there wouldn't be any fish fry at Di Rienzo's if it weren't for a mix-up with an equipment delivery in the 1980s. The brothers were looking to expand the already existing bakery to also include a deli. Tony Di Rienzo remembers that his brother had a list of must-haves for their new business venture. On that list, two rotisseries for chicken.

"We got the equipment. The guy didn't have any rotisseries! He brought two fryers instead," remembers Di Rienzo, "My brother said, 'what are ya doing?!'"

That delivery guy righted that wrong by giving the brothers an idea. 

"He said, 'Take a fryer, you can do chicken in there,'" says Di Rienzo.

They took two, and, it turns out, those are great for fish, too. 

It just took off.

The fish fry is on the menu for every Friday and twice a week during Lent. On Good Friday, the deli expects to go through 700 pounds of fish. Di Rienzo says his customers know what they're getting. 

"We've been doing it the same for the last 30 years," says Di Rienzo.

Di Rienzo attributes the fish fry's success to that tried and true recipe.