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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