Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Catfish Hole - Remarkable Hush Puppies and Family Service in Alma.

Care for some of the best hush puppies in the state? Sit down for dinner or lunch and share a full service of fish at The Catfish Hole in Alma.


For fans of the Arkansas Razorbacks, there are a select number of restaurants that make the cut when making the Little Rock to Fayetteville pilgrimage.  For catfish lovers, there’s just one choice – and it's on the Alma exit.


Since 1993, Catfish Hole has been serving up crisp-crust catfish to travelers and locals in Alma. The place was purchased by Pat and Janie Gazzola that year. The Gazzolas, who had worked twenty-four years in the oil and gas industry, were ready for a change. Within a few years, they had expanded to a second location in Fayetteville.




A few years ago, a modern facility was constructed just north of I-40 for the Catfish Hole in Alma. The new building is certainly something out of the 21st century – with a lot of glass, metal and angles to it.  But within you’ll find photos of the Gazzola family, a bevy of quilts and some of the best catfish in the state.

Every dining experience at Catfish Hole comes with a spread before ordering -- coleslaw, hush puppies, pickles, onions and pickle relish.  Those hush puppies may be one of the most addictive substances on the planet.  The size of a shooter marble, each one is sweet and a little salty, and it’s not
uncommon for someone to fill up on the tasty morsels quickly.  Try not to do that.

The catfish is the star of the show… crispy, lightly breaded and served family style on a bed of fries.  Whatever size order you make, you’ll still be fighting it out with the others at your table over that last fillet.


Catfish Hole has other options, too.  On our last visit, my partner Grav tried the fried clams, which overloaded his plate.  The tender pieces were great with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce and by themselves.

My Hawaiian chicken was also really good, with a teriyaki-style finish to the flattened breast.  Excellent choices, both.

Don’t overlook the appetizers.  The fried pickles are piquant and crispy, big slices of dill pickle served with Ranch sauce.



I'm also quite the fan of the succulent grilled stuffed shrimp.

When you finally get through your family-style meal and pay at the counter, be sure to grab dessert – in this case, Tootsie Roll Pops in a big case.  The folks at Catfish Hole say they buy more Tootsie Rolls than anyone else in the state of Arkansas… and they could easily be right.
Anything else you should know? Sure! There are several all-you-can-eat items on the menu, including scallops, clams, frog legs, chicken, fried shrimp and catfish. You can't take home leftovers, but you can stuff your gullet.  And if you want to try to all-you-can-eat two or three of them, you can do so for $29.99.

Best bargain for the non-meateaters is to get the dinner salad and fixins - that's a dinner salad, plus all-you-can-eat green tomato relish, hush puppies, cole slaw, onion slices and pickles. Sometimes when it's dang hot, that's all I get and I am happy - and it's all of $6.74, which means I can have tea with it and tip my waitress for $12 and we're both happy.

Planning a trip that direction?  Be sure to check out the website and don’t forget that they’re closed on Mondays.

Catfish Hole Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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