It’s a rare treat, but Tulsans take it for granted. Walk the streets of New York City, and the one thing you’ll never see is a sign that says “fried catfish.” In Tulsa, though, there are more catfish shacks than you can hang your hat in. But if you want the best fried catfish in Oklahoma, you’ve got to head south, south on Memorial way past the city line, past the granite monument where back in 1832 Washington Irving camped in a landscape as fresh as on the sixth day of creation, and just keep driving. Beyond 161st Street the avenue narrows into a two-lane rural road and there, across from a pasture and next to a bright red barn, you’ll see a little wood frame house that looks like a relic of land rush days. That’s the Lazy Fisherman.
Ron Churchill looks like the biggest, meanest linebacker on the college football team, and maybe he was, but he fries a mean catfish. Who taught him to cook so well? “Well, I learned from my dad,” says Churchill. “Dad was always a great cook. It’s not hard.” Fresh, soft and flaky, the fish is coddled by cornmeal batter so crisp and ethereal it was surely made in heaven. Don’t neglect the sides, “all made from scratch,” Churchill says assuredly. Of special note are the baked beans, the slaw, the onion rings and the tomato chutney. For the gluttonous, there are homemade pies. The place is usually packed with locals, and the staff is always busy, but, says Churchill, “we enjoying doing what we do.” 16830 S. Memorial Dr., Bixby. 918.366.8305