The Lazy Fisherman Catfish

By on January 15, 2010

Go south on Memorial, past the malls and the huge new Super Target, and somewhere south of 150th St the busy 6-lane highway becomes a sleepy country road. You’re not in Tulsa anymore. Around 168th St there’s a fork in the road, and what looks like a little low-slung wood farmhouse appears. That’s the Lazy Fisherman.

I was far from home, and I’d gone there to eat catfish. People round here take catfish for granted. But try to get it in New York. Back in the ’20s all those Southern immigrants discovered to their despair that there was none to be had. I’ve read somewhere that all the top soul food chefs called a meeting to decide on a substitute. They picked whiting. And indeed that’s the fish they use in the Northeast if you’re lucky enough to find fried fish (which you won’t, except for the upscale French-style beer-battered version). Believe me, whiting ain’t no catfish.

In search of Tulsa’s many unsung treasures, I’ve visited three places specializing in catfish in the past few weeks. (The others are Sweet Lisa’s Cafe and Abear’s, and I’ve written reviews of them that we’ll post later.) Lazy Fisherman was the last. It opened up around 1995 but it seems like it’s been there since Washington Irving camped about a mile or so up the road. Okay, slight exaggeration, but that varnished pine exterior really does look like something out of an old Western movie set. (It used to be a house years ago.) Inside is a big pleasant one-room affair with pine picnic-style long tables. Friendly people too. After all, it is a family place and if you look at the photo of the Churchill family on their website, chances are you’ll recognize your cook and waitress.

Basically the thing here is catfish. The shrimp are very very good, they have frog’s legs too, and someone must order the burgers and chicken, but I can’t imagine who. You’re there for the catfish. Fresh, perfect, battered with cornmeal and fried by an expert hand, these ethereal fillets just might be Tulsa’s finest. I ordered the fisherman’s combo ($12), and it had three of them. Along with three shrimp (flattened, fried with coconut batter, thinking it over if someone did make the trip just to have the shrimp, I’d understand) and choice of three sides. I had fried okra (crisp outside, slimy inside, just how it should be), mashed skin-on potatoes (good) and green beans (really soft but good because of the salt and garlic). And then just when I was about to burst (how embarrassing that would have been!) it was dessert time. So we ordered one piece of coconut pie and split it. Incredibly good. I think they used eggs in with the filling. I wish I’d stolen my friends’ portions.

I think I traveled 30 miles, 15 each way. But we all agreed it was worth the trip.

Lazy Fisherman on Urbanspoon

The Lazy Fisherman
16830 S. Memorial Dr, Bixby
366-8305
open Wed through Sat till around 8 PM, Sun for lunch only, closed Mon and Tue

http://www.thelazyfisherman.com/

Brian Schwartz:

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford (Meaning cow crossing a stream in Chinese) at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately.

I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola.

“A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

Brian Schwartz

About Brian Schwartz

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola. “A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

0 Comments

  1. Jackie S.

    January 15, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Mmmmm! I love me some catfish! ;-)

  2. shae

    January 15, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Wow…I gotta try this place. Great review! You have an awesome personality that comes through in your writing.

  3. jan

    January 15, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope to try this place soon.

  4. Joe @ Joe's Burger Search

    January 15, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I love a good fried catfish and from your pics that looks like what I grew up on. I’m also a hushpuppy addict and those looked great also. I’ll have to try “Lazy” soon. Thanks for the post!

  5. Matt

    January 15, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Brian,

    Great pictures here. I have a real tough time finding great seafood so I definitely have to try this place out. Did they have great tartar sauce?

    • Brian S.

      January 15, 2010 at 11:14 am

      The tartar sauce was in a big squeeze bottle, apparently homemade and very very good. But the fish was so good I ate most of it without sauce.

  6. Mark

    January 15, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I haven’t had good catfish in ages. I’ll have to check this place out. Great review, thanks.

    • Brian S.

      January 15, 2010 at 11:17 am

      Mark I value your praise because one of my friends, whom I’m sure you will remember, works for a singing club and always spoke highly of your intellect.

  7. Condiment Queen

    January 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

    This is great my boyfriend loves catfish, we have got to check this place out! The pictures are making me hungry now!

  8. Theresa

    January 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I love the look of the place. It makes you feel like your doing more than just going out for dinner. I think it will definitely add to your dining experience coming to a place that looks so quaint and fun. The food looks amazing, can’t wait to try it. What a great article, Thanks again Tulsa Food Blog for bringing to us.

  9. Steve

    January 15, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Two things I love – good catfish and good writing. Thanks for both. BTW – I’ve noticed some really good writing on the TFB reviews lately. Bravo TFB! Streetwise food with upscale talent! When’s your Food Network debut?

  10. Cathe

    January 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    You forgot to comment on the delicious onion rings. Oh maybe that’s because I gobbled them up and only left you one!

  11. AJS in Tulsa

    January 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    This is one of my Grandfather’s favorite places to go eat! He says it’s the best catfish in town. I think it is time for another trip out South!

  12. Brian S.

    January 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you so very much for all these comments! They are a writer’s biggest reward. It’s such a thrill. I’ve been running around the house shouting “I got eleven comments!!!” (That was a few comments ago.) And everyone who heard me was ecstatic, or else politely pretended to be. So why not leave more comments? I’ll be celebrating at my favorite bar tonight, shouting to all and sundry, “I got X comments!!!” Except I won’t shout X, I’ll blare forth a number which will depend on you.

  13. Sal

    January 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    I would drive that far for good shrimp!!!

  14. aaron

    January 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I’ve had the catfish before and it’s definitely worth the drive

  15. Jeff

    January 18, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Another place you should try is the “Fish Shack” out in Coweta. Besides normal plates, they also have all you can eat offerings.

    • Brian S.

      January 23, 2010 at 10:08 am

      Never been there but I’ve heard about it. $13 unlimited catfish, $15 unlimited shrimp. I can’t believe it can be better than Lazy Fisherman, though.

      11319 S Oklahoma 51
      486-3474

  16. Brian

    Brian

    January 18, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Brian, great article and response! You are the man!!!!!!

  17. Keith Weldon

    February 2, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Thank you, thank you! I have been looking for a good catfish place ever since Pauline’s shut down!

  18. Sharon

    March 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Love this place – my husband and I frequent it often. Brian great review. We always start off with the fried pickles – what a welcome addition while waiting for our fried catfish! Never been disappointed – opps take that back. One time I drove four friends out there – had been bragging about the catfish for over a month – got there and they were closed. This was on a Tuesday evening – a lady at the store down a bit further said they are now closed on tuesdays – bummer…. so call first – for me it was a long drive but I won’t hold it againt them – the service and the food won’t let me.

  19. Sean

    March 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    You can get a 1/2 price gift certificate on KVOO’s website ($50 for $25)…better hurry though, only 3 remaining!

  20. Tara U.

    May 26, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Love Brian’s reviews… I’ve wanted to visit The Lazy Fisherman for a long time now, it would be cooler if Tony B. wanted to share some frog legs with me. Definitely looking forward to their catfish and okra.

  21. Brian Schwartz

    June 18, 2010 at 9:28 am

    In my review I promised to post reviews of Sweet Lisa’s and Abears. This has been done!! I revisited the places, photographed them, expanded my reviews.

    http://tulsafood.com/tulsa-fried-food/sweet-lisas-cafe-tulsa-oklahoma

    http://tulsafood.com/downtown/abears-downtown-tulsa

  22. lpittes

    August 26, 2010 at 11:11 am

    the best catfish in the world,my son can eat at this place every singal day, and pie’s o my god, the staff and the owner ron are great people… the food to die for……

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