The Bama’s Best Catfish Restaurant Challenge has netted four finalists in its quest for the tastiest U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish served in the Heart of Dixie.
Finalists are The Ark! in Riverside in St. Clair County, David’s Catfish House in Thomasville in Clarke County, The Green Leaf Grill in Mentone in DeKalb County and Heard’s BBQ & Soul Food in Maplesville in Chilton County.
The restaurant reeled in as Bama’s Best Catfish champion receives a plaque, a cash prize and a feature in Neighbors magazine, an Alabama Farmers Federation publication. The Alabama Catfish Producers sponsor the annual challenge.
“Alabama catfish farmers work hard to raise healthy, delicious fish for families,” said Sid Nelson, the Alabama Catfish Committee chairman and a Sumter County catfish farmer. “We’re grateful for all restaurants serving our U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish and are excited to personally thank the Final Four.”
A panel of judges will sample each restaurant’s best catfish dishes later this month. They’ll visit The Ark! and The Green Leaf Grill July 26 before heading to David’s Catfish and Heard’s BBQ July 27.
Judges are Townsend Kyser, Catfish Farmers of America president and a Hale County catfish farmer; Mike McCall, longtime editor of The Catfish Journal; and a surprise TV anchor from Birmingham.
The Bama’s Best Catfish Restaurant Challenge received hundreds of nominations for 61 restaurants online and via Facebook.
Alabama catfish production and processing have over a $158 million economic impact annually and employee about 1,500 Alabamians. The state produces 33 percent of all U.S. catfish, with 120 million pounds grown annually on 85 farms.
The Alabama Catfish Producers is a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation, the state’s largest farm organization with nearly 360,000 members.