Bama’s Best Catfish Restaurant Challenge is back for its third year and the Alabama Catfish Producers hope to reel in new fans with the contest.
“Few things are more Southern than delicious catfish,” said Alabama Catfish Producers Chairman Sid Nelson of Epes. “When consumers eat catfish, we want them to make sure they’re getting U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish, and we want to know who’s the best when it comes to preparing our favorite fish.”
The Alabama Catfish Producers, a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation, is sponsoring the annual contest. Catfish lovers are asked to nominate their favorite restaurant through the Alabama Farmers Federation Facebook page or at AlabamaCatfish.org. Nominations end June 12.
“Our farmers sponsor the contest to encourage consumption of the wholesome, nutritious catfish we raise,” Nelson said. “We’re thankful for all the restaurants in Alabama that serve our home-grown product, and we appreciate their customers.”
Fried is probably the most popular way catfish is prepared, Nelson said, but it’s also delicious broiled, baked, sautéed and blackened.
No matter how it’s cooked Southerners crave catfish, and through the challenge, customers can share why their favorite restaurant is Bama’s Best.
Four finalists will be selected from the nominations for the Bama’s Best Catfish Restaurant Challenge. A team of judges, including an Alabama catfish farmer, will visit finalists in late July. Restaurants will be asked to prepare their most popular catfish dish for the judges.
The winner of Bama’s Best Catfish Restaurant Challenge will be announced in August, which is National Catfish Month. Additionally, each finalist will receive a plaque; the winner will receive a plaque and cash prize; and all four will be featured in Neighbors magazine. Additionally, a “People’s Choice” award will be selected from the nominations.
Hale County catfish farmer Townsend Kyser was among the judges for last year’s event. Kyser, who is Catfish Farmers of America president, said the experience gave him an opportunity to thank restaurants that serve only the best fish to their customers.
“It was awesome for me to see people so passionate about preparing a product I produce,” Kyser said. “Each of the restaurants we judged made me proud to call myself a catfish farmer.”
Last year’s winner, David’s Catfish House in Atmore, is owned by Rob Faircloth. He served judges a house special of catfish and grits topped with gumbo. His restaurant also won the coveted People’s Chose Award.