Eat, Drink & Be Merry: Southern Summer Fish Fry


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By: Jim Hagy, Chef’s Market

With warmer days and nights still cool, the thoughts of a good Southern fish fry comes to mind. I grew up on the banks of the Tennessee River, and my grandfather Norvin took the fish fry to another level. In a log shack on the banks of the river that his grandfather had built for staging goods to be loaded on steamboats, Norvin took great pleasure in entertaining friends and family with what many claimed was the best fried catfish around. The building was nicknamed the Catfish Hotel by Norvin’s friends who frequently borrowed and used it as a fish camp.

The idea to open a restaurant in that log shack came from Governor Browning during a political gathering that Norvin hosted in his honor. In 1938, the Hagy Catfish Hotel officially opened and has been serving the same great catfish and hush-puppies ever since. Today, the third generation of Hagys continues the tradition, making the restaurant one of the oldest family-owned in the country.

With our roots deep in the catfish business, a fish fry is a year-round affair to the Hagy family, though most Southern towns equate this community event as an indicator that summer has arrived. With that in mind, we’re sharing a few family secrets on how to freshen up your standard summer barbecue and embrace the Southern tradition of the summer fish fry. We are sharing recipes for fried catfish, hushpuppies and a lemon rub pie straight from the Hagy kitchen to yours with a bonus recipe of our jicama orange cole slaw online at

We hope your long summer days are filled with cookouts and fish frys and that our recipes shared here are used to start your own family traditions. Or pack up the family and head southwest for about 150 miles until you reach Shiloh and let the Hagys do the frying for you!

Chef’s Market Catering & Restaurant is a full-service catering company that continues to be celebrated as a leader in culinary skill and presentation, voted as Best Caterer in Nashville for the past five consecutive years. Chef’s Market offers catering and take-away options for both large and small events, from formal corporate galas to casual in-office get-togethers and outdoor affairs. Its Goodlettsville, Tennessee restaurant serves customer favorites for lunch and dinner Monday – Saturday. Visit for more information and menu selections.

Hagy’s Catfish Hotel is a located on the banks of the beautiful Tennessee River in Shiloh, Tennessee. It is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Reservations are accepted. For more information, visit


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