In 1984, Vernon and Mary Bowers opened Kuntry Katfish with just ten tables and seating for forty. Today the Conroe landmark on Highway 105 has grown to three simply decorated dining rooms filled with catfish connoisseurs seven days a week.
I could have had a fried shrimp platter, frog legs or crawfish etouffe. I could have filled up on chicken fried steak with cream gravy or a half-pound Kuntry burger. But, when you venture beyond the end of your driveway to an eatery with the word “Katfish” in its name, you order the catfish.
I’ve eaten at Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish before, so I waited in mouth watering anticipation for the first course – a plate filled with hot southern hushpuppies fresh from the fryer and a bowl of signature pickled green tomato relish. . . oh, baby!
The combination of those hot, crispy fried cornbread balls and the sweet and spicy tang of relish conjured up images of fishin’ poles and lazy green rivers, while “Mountain Music” by the band Alabama wafted from the speakers overhead.
When my order arrived I took a moment to enjoy the aroma and the presentation before me. Five large, corn meal crusted catfish fillets were fried to golden perfection and stacked on a mound of homemade, skin-on fries. The freshly made tartar sauce only delivered more hits of deep south memories of my kidhood. As on previous visits to Vernon’s, my greasy fingers and I were lovin’ it.
Bite after bite soon made me realize that once the plate had been emptied there would be no room Vernon’s signature desserts. I love the homemade banana pudding, pecan cobbler, and brownies with ice cream, but this was the right decision for this particular visit. Catfish had brought me here and I would leave with the taste of catfish on my lips.
There are lots of good catfish restaurants across Texas. Mel’s in Tomball, Catfish Charlie’s in Corpus Christi, and the Clear Springs Restaurant in New Braunfels top my list. But today I was satisfied with the hushpuppies, tomato relish and tasty fillets that I found in Conroe, Texas.
Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish is at 5901 Old Highway 105 W. in Conroe. Visit www.kuntrykatfish.com for a look at the menu.
Michael Baxter is the Texas Travelin’ Man
Always come to TourTexas.com for Texas Tourist Information, Family Vacations – Texas, Texas Travel Guides and more.