During my first-ever trip to Florida last week, I enjoyed a meal at The Catfish Place in St. Cloud. I always love trying out local foods when visiting a new area, and you couldn’t ask for a better place to do that than The Catfish Place. Founded in 1973 as a way to bring traditional Florida family food to the masses, this restaurant boasts a full menu of unique items like frog legs, alligator, and of course, catfish caught daily from Lake Okeechobee. Over the last 41 years, the restaurant has been frequented by a number of celebrities from Emeril Lagasse and Art Linkletter to Don Johnson.
To get our meal started off, we ordered a selection of appetizers including fried alligator gator, fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, and hush puppies. All of the appetizers were good, including the fried gator – this was my first taste of gator meat, and it tasted like extra chewy popcorn chicken.
For lunch, I was determined to get the most Southern dish I cold find, so I ordered deep fried catfish, deep fried shrimp, french fries, hush puppies, and cheese grits with a large glass of sweet tea. The portions were huge and the prices reasonable! This was my first time tasting grits, and it was interesting – to my West coast palate, it tasted like Tapioca pudding made with cheese. Next time, I’d like to try just plain grits because I think I would like it better.
If you’re like me and enjoy finding the most local foods possible during travels, then The Catfish Place is a must-visit if you are in the area!