They are the Cod Squad and they were on a mission for cod.
But when they aren't stuffing their faces on fish on Friday, they are the staff of Marketicity, a full-service interactive and communications agency in Columbia.
Every Friday in Lent, the group of six dines at fish fries in Monroe County. The outings are a little bit of publicity, a little bit of philanthropy and just darn fun, said agency owner Scott Rodemich.
"We're visiting as many as we can," said Gary Most. "We're a little handicapped because we have to do lunch and a lot of them don't start until 4 in the afternoon."
But the tour is hitting businesses as well as fundraisers, Rodemich said.
Two weeks ago they went to Merz on Main in Columbia. Last week it was the Waterloo VFW.
On Friday they were at the Corner Pub and Grill in Valmeyer admiring the old neon Budweiser that used to be in the old Corner Pub building below the bluffs that was drowned out by the flood of 1993.
They also were rating the food and watching the NCAA tournament on television as Duke lost to Mercer and busted nearly every bracket.
Squad members sported self-designed T-shirts advertising their mission for cod on the fronts, which they admitted they cribbed from the movie "The Blues Brothers." On the backs was emblazoned "Cod Squad." A car also carried magnetic signs with the Cod Squad logo.
Not to be outdone, workers at the Corner Pub sported T-shirts boasting, "I work the corner."
"We're seeing the different ways you can prepare fish and the side dishes," Most said. "It's really interesting."
Among them, the group manages to order just about all the fish and fish related dishes on the menu. They write about their experiences on a blog on their website, marketicity.com.
The group also included Kara Gerstenecker, Tabitha Brett, Hannah Berg and Allie Haller. The group members traded food back and forth although Rodemich guarded his hush puppies under a piece of bread.
"But my pickles are for sale," he said.
When Most ordered a piece of strawberry bundt cake for dessert, many forks made quick work of the delectable goody. Then it was back to work for what had to have been a sleepy afternoon after all that good food.
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