Top 10 Catfish Joints in the South
Fish trends may come and go, but good ol’ Southern fried catfish has always been here to stay. While you’ve likely got your own treasured family recipe for preparing this local fish, there are plenty of great restaurants in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida serving their own versions. Dished with sides of hushpuppies, collard greens, macaroni and cheese or cheesy grits, and perhaps some coleslaw, this is true comfort food. Is your mouth watering? Then it’s time to check out these top 10 catfish joints in the South.
1. Jerry’s Catfish House
Don’t be put off by the quirky, igloo-shaped appearance of Jerry’s Catfish House in Florence, Mississippi—this place is the real deal. Diners can choose the All You Can Eat Catfish or get a plate with either one whole fish or four fillets. Both come with French fries, hushpuppies and coleslaw, and you can swap in turnip greens or two kinds of potato if you’d like. Jerry’s gets busy at the usual dinner hours, so come hungry but be prepared to wait.
2. Taylor Grocery
If you didn’t know better, chances are good that you’d simply drive by this nondescript storefront. Taylor Grocery, in Taylor, Mississippi, boasts on its menu that it serves “The South’s Best Catfish,” and there are plenty of people—including some at The Food Network—who agree. Order your catfish fried, grilled or blackened, and then sit back to enjoy the live music with a glass of sweet tea. The service is always friendly, and the owner often sings with the band. This is down-home cooking in a down-home atmosphere. Open Thursday through Sunday.
3. Newbern’s Restaurant
Newbern’s Restaurant in Florence, Alabama, serves pond-raised catfish in a range of sizes to suit all appetites. Whether you order the small whole catfish or the large plate of catfish fillets, it all comes with hushpuppies and coleslaw, and diner’s choice of baked potato, French fries or onion rings. You can also get the traditional accompaniments of raw onion and fresh lemon, or ask your server for tartar sauce if you prefer.
4. David’s Catfish House
You’ll know this cozy restaurant in Atmore, Alabama, is the real deal when you spot the roll of paper towels on each table. Catfish lovers have a variety of choices at David’s Catfish House, depending on their appetite. There’s an all-you-can-eat catfish fillets dinner; a one-, two- or three-piece dinner plate; a combo catfish and oysters plate; a combo catfish and large shrimp plate; and a combo catfish and popcorn shrimp plate. All come with two sides, including cheese grits, greens and more.
5. Huck Finn’s Catfish
Huck Finn’s Catfish in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is open for both lunch and dinner, and there’s plenty of catfish on both menus. Lunch offerings include both fried and grilled catfish, with all-you-can-eat sides for a fixed price. Dinner has more choices and bigger portions, but also comes with the “bottomless vittles,” including traditional hushpuppies, pickles and onion slices and mashed potatoes, as well as bowls of baked white beans and turkey ham for something unique. The kid’s menu also has a choice of catfish strips.
6. PawPaw’s Catfish Kitchen
Located in Sevierville, Tennessee, PawPaw’s Catfish Kitchen serves Creole and Cajun cuisine, New Orleans-style. Get your catfish craving sated in a variety of ways—with a catfish po’boy, grilled with lemon pepper or Cajun sauce, or topped with Acadiana or Creole cream sauces and served over pasta. Traditionalists will find plenty of fried catfish dishes too, including a “Family Box” with 12 pieces of catfish, six hushpuppies and one large side. If you’ve got room for dessert, the white chocolate bread pudding definitely entices.
7. Aunt Catfish’s on the River
You’ve got to love a place that’s known for its cinnamon rolls and adds them as a side to nearly every menu item. At Aunt Catfish’s on the River, in Port Orange, Florida, this includes serving one alongside their “Carolina-style” fried salt and pepper catfish, which comes in a basket with hushpuppies, fries and slaw as well. They also dish them out with all the other catfish options, including catfish fillets with the popular “Fish Camp Fixin’s” salad buffet and a sampler of the fish prepared three different ways.
8. David’s Catfish House (Florida Edition)
Although technically a part of the same franchise, each location of David’s has its own unique spin. The Milton, Florida, restaurant serves Mississippi catfish for both lunch and dinner, in a selection of fillet or whole-fish dishes. Diners who are hard-pressed to make a choice can opt for the Sunshine State-inspired seafood platter, which includes catfish as well as crab, shrimp, oysters and onion rings. Tea is served by the pitcher here, so you can drink to your heart’s content.
9. Ezell’s Catfish Cabin
As soon as your server places that basket of hushpuppies on your table, you know you’re going to like it at Ezell’s Catfish Cabin in Columbus, Georgia. Ezell’s has been serving classic Southern cuisine since 1982, including U.S. farm-raised catfish. You can get it served whole and on the bone, or as fillets fried, grilled or blackened. Ezell’s also has combination catfish plates, allowing diners to craft their own plate with catfish and shrimp, chicken wings, fried alligator and more.
10. Riverbend Restaurant
Riverbend Restaurant has been serving fried catfish to Thomaston, Georgia, residents and visitors for nearly 50 years. Choose the all-you-can-eat catfish dinner, which also comes with all-you-can-eat hushpuppies and French fries, the whole fish on the bone or the two- or three-piece fillet dinner plates. Customers rave about the coleslaw, as well as the views of the Flint River.