Archive for category Catfish
So I’ve been going to Bill’s Catfish outside of Waurika for as long as I can remember. I remember my parents dragging me down Highway 81 for the 45 minute drive so they could eat some catfish. I, being a VERY PICKY eater as a child, always loathed those weekend nights when my parents would get a hankering for catfish. I remember always having to wait a long time because the place is so popular and really not enjoying it as the thought of eating any kind of slimy fish just disgusted me. But then I grew up and (THANK THE GOOD LORD!) also grew out of the whole picky eater thing. I went here with my grandparents one time as an adult and seriously was slapping myself for all of those times I would waste the opportunity to eat some fishy goodness!
Apparently the official name is “Bill’s Fish House,” but we folks in southwest Oklahoma prefer the name “Bill’s Catfish.” Anyways, this restaurant is in a shack located on a barren strip of Oklahoma State Highway 79 and you can literally smell the Red River from the parking lot. It has a long history and has been open in its current location since 1962, which isn’t more than a shed with a gravel parking lot out front. People do not go to Bill’s for the modern decor (wood paneling adorns all the walls) or the hip in crowd (pretty much just cowboys or folks traveling through). If you are going to Bill’s, you are simply going to eat some great “seafood” in the middle of the dusty plains.
I have always raved about this place to my sweet dear husband, but haven’t gotten the chance to bring Joe to enjoy some of the fried goodness. We were on our way back to Marlow (our temporary home…loooonnnngggg story) from a day of big city life in Dallas (think Ikea, Corner Bakery, Restoration Hardware, Crate and Barrel, Anthropolgie…aka HEAVEN) and heard our stomachs growling. I thought it was just the perfect opportunity to take Joe to try Bill’s! We exited off of the highway onto Highway 79, and believe me Joe was skeptical. There is NOTHING out here. Not even a house…but the all of a sudden out of the darkness appears a very crowded gravel parking lot full of big ole pickups. Needless to say, our Honda Civic (with Obama-Biden sticker and all…elitist much?) does not really fit in with this crowd.
This was of course a Saturday night, so the place was packed. But luckily we found us a seat. The server brought us out the menu and Joe was very amused that there were frog legs on the menu. We of course opted for the classic, signature dish here at Bill’s Catfish, the catfish basket. Within two or three minutes of our ordering, our server brings out a basket (YES A BASKET) of hush puppies.
Our catfish baskets quickly followed the hush puppies. Let me tell you, this had to be some of the best catfish I have ever had. I must have missed good old southern catfish during my stint in DC. I tried it at a few places out there, but nothing ever quite did it for me like Bill’s Catfish does. One thing you instantly notice about this catfish is the flavor of the cornmeal breading is matched perfectly with the freshness of the fish. If you didn’t know any better, you would think this was actually caught in the river down the road (it’s actually farm catfish…i asked). Joe and I have done our fair share of catfish catching and frying, and this was every bit as good if not better, and of course easier because you don’t have to actually catch and filet the fish! If you are looking for a good cornmeal based catfish, served with delicious hush puppies, fries, and coleslaw, this is the place for you. There are no frills, but that is what makes Bill’s Catfish one of my favorite places. They keep it simple and each time I go back, I leave with a happy heart and a full stomach.