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Statewide Food 29

8 Favorite Fried Catfish Spots Around Arkansas


We adore fried catfish in these parts. And whether it is a small town, big city, or anywhere in-between, great fried catfish can be found all over Arkansas. Below are my eight favorite spots, followed by 20 reader suggestions collected from my personal blog, The Mighty Rib.

1. Dondie’s White River Princess (Des Arc)

Do yourself a favor and head to Des Arc on a Saturday evening to partake in Dondie’s buffet. The centerpiece is the never-ending fried catfish. The bins on a busy night are refilled every 10 minutes for the insanely popular, golden, crispy fried catfish. Just being in the restaurant is a memorable experience.

2. The Whippet (Prattsville)

At The Whippet, pleasantly under-seasoned, lightly cornmeal-coated fried strips pair well with accompanying sides, known collectively as “The Set-Up.” This includes tomato relish, slaw, hush puppies, and some wildly addictive beans.

3. JoJo’s Catfish Wharf (Mountain View)

Yes, at JoJo’s the popular hush puppies are complimentary and the fried okra is crazy good, but it is probably the fried catfish that has brought you through the door. It will not disappoint.

4. Crazee’s Café (Little Rock)

I have written extensively about Crazee’s Café’s fried catfish over the past few years, and for good reason. It is amazing. Thick, generously breaded and well-seasoned pieces of the fish pair well with sweet slaw and hush puppies.

5. Smokin’ Buns (Jacksonville)

Like many joints in Arkansas, Smokin’ Buns focuses its menu around barbecue and fried catfish, the latter of which has a clean taste and super crispy texture.

6. Hurley House Café (Hazen)

If possible, go to Hurley House Café for both the fried catfish and cheeseburger. The restaurant has Fish Friday, with a buffet filled with farm-raised, hand-breaded catfish steaks, fillets, and all the trimmings. A drink and dessert are included for the reasonable price of $11.99.

7. Café Rue Orleans (Fayetteville)

The brunch service at Café Rue Orleans offers the most creative entry on this list with its Catfish Tchoupitoulas, a dish that includes an enormous piece of crab-stuffed, fried catfish covered in a seafood cream sauce with a side of cheesy potatoes.

8. Jefferson Regional Medical Center (Pine Bluff)

Jefferson Regional in Pine Bluff is the ultimate unexpected inclusion here, but it absolutely belongs. The hospital does a “Fancy Friday” menu that includes, you guessed it, fried catfish. The sizable pieces of fried catfish are the real deal and go wonderfully with a side of greens.


Reader Recommendations:

Lassis Inn (Little Rock)
Catfish Hole (Fayetteville)
Bull Pen Restaurant (DeWitt)
Red’s Restaurant (Fordyce)
Woods Place (Camden)
Bubba’s Catfish & Seafood (Hot Springs)
Crossroads Café and Catering (Cabot)
Nick’s Bar-B-Q & Catfish (Carlisle)
BJ’s Market Café (North Little Rock)
Fred’s Fish House (Mountain Home)
Brewster’s 2 Café (Little Rock)
The Hook Catfish Restaurant (Jacksonville)
Abe’s Ole Feed House (Lawson)
Ron’s Catfish (Jonesboro)
Seaton’s Scott Place (Scott)
Mr. Whiskers (Hot Springs)
Hog Pen BBQ (Conway)
Molly’s Dinner (Warren)
Southern Girls BBQ (Pangburn)
Bobby’s Café (North Little Rock)
KJ’s (Judsonia)
Lindsey’s BBQ & Hospitality House (North Little Rock)
Emma Lee’s (Hot Springs)


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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and one daughter, Sydney. His oldest daughter, Natalie, is a freshman at Loyola University in Chicago. He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, twelve years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for ten years. During that time, he’s written for publications like Little Rock Soiree, Arkansas Times, AY Magazine, and The Local Palate.

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29 responses to “8 Favorite Fried Catfish Spots Around Arkansas”

  1. Mary Williams says:

    You missed the best catfish in the state of Arkansas – Eat My Catfish!

  2. Jake Dixon says:

    Glenn’s Smokehouse in Searcy has AMAZING catfish!!!

  3. Donna Rutledge says:

    Black Angus in Little Rock has great catfish, but only on Friday and Saturday.

  4. Louis Christo says:

    I cant believe no mention of Catfish John in Roger’s. My favorite by far.

  5. Meagan says:

    Cecil store in Cecil Arkansas is the best in Franklin county

  6. Jason says:

    Brown’s Catfish in Russellville AR is a awesome buffet and has some the best food in AR for sure… Should have been a top ten on this list…

  7. Duvvie Hendrix says:

    Claire’s in Tyronza, Ar is the best fried catfish I have ever had. Only served on Friday nights and it is usually packed. People from Marion, West Memphis come to eat here. I usually don’t like hush puppies but these are the best

  8. Jess says:

    Where’s Huckleberry’s in Searcy y’all?

  9. Miranda Buchanan says:

    Pruitt’s of Lonoke Arkansas should be on that list they have the most amazing fish.

  10. Davie Mcjunkins says:

    Wards in Hotsprings has some amazing fried cat fish. They also have crawfish, crab legs. Its called wards the crawfish hole

  11. Tanisha says:

    The catfish at Rays in Monticello is really good.

  12. Eric Woods says:

    thanks to all for making Brewsters 2 cafe one of Little Rock top spots for catfish we are so thankful

  13. Delores Clark says:

    We ate at the catfish hole today. The best catfish I have ever had and the hush puppies were perfect. will definitely go back soon

  14. Kharneesheia Wilson says:

    Huckleberry’s in Searcy is amazing. There are you can eat and they also have crab legs for an additional price. Where my daddy comes to town he always wants to go there. He eats there at least twice in the 3 days that he’s here. That’s says a lot because he’s very picky when it comes to fish. As well as there’s a very good fish market in Des Arc call White & Son Fishmarket.

  15. Sherry says:

    Big Creek Catfish Pangburn, AR

  16. Fred Stone says:



  17. Fred Stone says:



  18. Rebecca Fowler says:


  19. Kendra Bledsoe says:

    Rebecca, they have one in Little Rock and in Benton.

  20. Kathy Emerson says:

    Eat My Catfish in Benton and Conway is the very BEST. Locations in Little Rock and North Little Rock also. We also love the Catfish Hole in NW Arkansas!

  21. […] Sides like the mac & cheese, coleslaw, and black-eyed peas are all calling my name, as are the fried catfish and fried […]

  22. […] Make no mistake, this is stick-to-your-ribs comfort food, and it was all delightful, but the fried catfish stole the show. I am talking about crispy, lightly seasoned, cornmeal-battered catfish strips, just […]

  23. […] muffin. My goodness. Order a couple for the road. A quick taste of the cornmeal-coated strips of fried catfish was also met with favorable results, although I would have preferred a slightly crispier […]

  24. […] continue to travel the state in search of great fried catfish, this time stumbling upon some at Bosses Chicken in England. As the name suggests, chicken, country […]

  25. […] fish is also on the menu, and while I love the ever-popular catfish that’s pretty much found everywhere in Arkansas, I applaud Cook’s for again switching it up […]

  26. […] fried catfish dinner. Too Sweet does the latter on Fridays and Saturdays, and since I’m always in fried catfish research mode, ordering a few pieces was an easy decision. As I found out a few minutes later, it was a wise one. […]

  27. […] with fries, slaw, fritters, and hushpuppies. You’ll need to pop a few Lipitor beforehand, but the fried catfish, with its heavy coating of cornmeal batter, is worth it. Like any respectable fried catfish in the […]

  28. […] to the gills. Also, I better not gloss over the fried catfish, which immediately vaulted into my Top 10 in the area after a few bites. A thin batter, fried crisp makes all the […]

  29. […] finding better fried catfish in Little Rock. High praise, I know, but it’s true. The folks at Brewster’s Too Café also make a good cheeseburger, and the soul food sides like yams and collard greens are worth a […]

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