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Carnegie Mellon Grad Serves Up Pittsburgh Area Fish Fry Map for Lent

Hollen Barmer turned her love of fish fries into a map to chart the many places to find Friday fish for Lent.

Leave it to a non-Pittsburgh native to find a way to let all yinz know about where to find fish n'at for Lent.

Hollen Barmer, a writer/editor for Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, has found all the fish fries Pittsburgh has to offer—and a way to add those she might have missed.

"I decided to make the first map in 2012 because I'd been enjoying going to fish fries for a few years and wanted to see all the options based on location," explained Barmer, who moved here from Memphis, TN 13 years ago to attend graduate school at CMU. "Even though I've lived in Pittsburgh for almost 13 years, I don't know all the neighborhoods. On top of that, I am terrible with directions. I thought other people might be able to use the map too, whether they were new to Pittsburgh or fish fries or just wanted to branch out and try a different place."

Her map started small. She posted the link on Facebook, and some of her friends tweeted it.

"I didn't expect it to be that big of a deal, but it was shared and retweeted so much that I started keeping an eye on how many views the map received," said Barmer, who has lived in Swissvale since 2008. "I checked it the other day, and, though I haven't done much research to figure out how Google counts views, the total count for last year's map was over 36,000."

This year's map took her about five or six hours over a couple of evenings. She said it went pretty fast once she figured out the best series of steps for getting the information from the text listings. Barmer used the listings from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, KDKA and the Erie Diocese into the map.

"I feel like going to a fish fry is a fun Pittsburgh adventure, from the people you meet to the food itself, so I'd love for people to use the map to find and enjoy fish fries," Barmer said. "I'd also like for people to add placemarks for any fish fry I've missed. The map is open to collaboration, and I've put my email address in the description in case people would rather send me their fish fry details."

To view the map, click here. The map also has a Facebook page, where people can report on their fish fry adventures.

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