Catfish on the Arkansas River

I had to take the youngest son to Russellville on Saturday to play in an AAU basketball tournament. Since it was such a beautiful day with surprisingly low humidity for July, I suggested we go to Catfish “N” on the banks of the Arkansas River at Dardanelle.

I normally am not a fan of buffets — I prefer my food cooked to order when in a restaurant — but the catfish was good in Dardanelle. A lot of people were sitting on the patio, and the view of the Arkansas River was great. Catfish “N” does something right since it has been around since 1971.

When ordering catfish from the menu, my favorite place is probably Murry’s, which is just west of Hazen on U.S. 70. It doesn’t have the same funky atmosphere of the original Murry’s in DeValls Bluff, which was a rabbit warren of connected trailers that attracted weekend road trippers from Little Rock for years. More than once, I consumed a barbecue sandwich at Craig’s as an “appetizer” and then went down the street to Murry’s (it wasn’t easy to find) for a main course of catfish.

Stan cooks the fish right at what a lot of people call the “new” Murry’s, though it has been at the current location for years. It’s worth a pleasant drive over on U.S. 70. Stay off Interstate 40. The old highway is far more relaxing.

I also have to plug the catfish at Gene’s in Brinkley. I know “barbecue” is in the name of the restaurant, but I usually find myself ordering catfish. That’s because Gene sells the small whole catfish known as fiddlers.

Most people now prefer catfish fillets. But I prefer catfish steaks over fillets and like whole catfish best of all.

When in the mood for buffalo ribs (for you Yankees, that is a fish, not a big animal that once roamed the plains) , it’s the Lassis Inn in Little Rock.

Questions for you:

Which Arkansas restaurant serves the best catfish?

Do you prefer fillets, catfish steaks or whole catfish? And why?

And where else other than Lassis Inn is a good place to buy buffalo?

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10 Responses to “Catfish on the Arkansas River”

  1. Dennis Byrd says:

    The original Hush Puppy in Texarkana had great fiddlers back in the day! Fillets are just too easy, though. And, on the subject of fillets and buffets, Dorey’s has to be up there!

  2. Br549 says:

    Still the best catfish I have ever had was at a fish fry in Hickory Ridge…it was snow white, fluffy and cooked just right. All I was able to find out about it was that it came from a Eudora, AR, and they used a process called “deep skinning” when cleaning the fish. This process got rid of ever last bit of grey fatty matter on the fish….

    I probably ate 15 pieces–no ketchup, hot sauce, tartar sauce nothing…just by itself. It was salted just right.

    It was just a community fish fry that they happened to be having that night…can’t recall the occasion at the moment. I have yet to find catfish cooked and prepared in that manner again, but not for lack of trying I might add.

    As for resturant…I’m with you on Genes. I always find myself ordering the catsfish at the bbq joint. Also, in LR, Ive been ordering the catfish at Doe’s more often than the cheeseburger in recent months…

  3. Eric Rogers says:

    The Kroger on Hwy 10 often has frozen buffalo.

  4. Steve Jones says:

    The Fish House and Payton Creek in Conway are both very good.

  5. Linda Laney says:

    Try the Georgetown One Stop in Georgetown, AR they have the best catfish and buffalo fish around!! Well worth the drive to have great fish, hushpuppies, fries and slaw plus homemade dessert. Check out the walls to see who has been there!! Reservations are needed for Friday and Saturday nights. They have always been packed when we go and we have been told it’s the hunter paradise for food in the fall and winter!!

  6. rexnelson says:

    Linda: One of my great regrets is that I have not yet made it to the Georgetown One Stop. I have heard great things and must get over there soon — Rex

  7. Amy Roussel says:

    Rex: Bill and I have enjoyed your articles and seeing you in print again. When I read about your blog, we agreed that you and Melissa must come to Searcy so we can take you to Georgetown One Stop for catfish and buffalo. So call Laura and Todd to see if they can come with you and give us a date. We’ll make reservations. As Linda Laney said, it is a great place and you won’t find a place like this very often. Because of your notariety, maybe we’ll get our pictures on the wall! Take care. Your friends in Searcy—Bill and Amy

  8. rexnelson says:

    Amy: That invitation is going to be hard to resist! Let’s do it. I want to try Georgetown One Stop. I cannot believe I have not been there — Rex

  9. Scott Davis says:

    Rex,
    I too am a connoisseur of great catfish.

    Denton’s Trotline in Benton has got to be on any list of great catfish joints in Arkansas.

    Also, Rivertowne BBQ in Ozark does a smoked catfish on Fridays at lunch. It’s amazing. I typically think that it’s blasphemous to prepare catfish in any manner other than deep fried. But, their smoked catfish is an exception to the rule.

    Where can I find a restaurant in Arkansas that serves whole catfish?

  10. rexnelson says:

    Scott: The last time I checked, Gene’s in Brinkley had fiddlers (small whole catfish) — Rex

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