Searching for soul in the Falls

More stories from Aquila Freeney

World stop…carry on
April 23, 2019

fried catfish, fries, red beans & rice, and fried okra from Sam’s Southern Eatery

Being new to the Wichita Falls area, I was in dire need of some homestyle soul-food. After doing a quick Google search, a place caught my eye: Sam’s Southern Eatery. I headed there with a bit of skepticism because honestly, I did not think Wichita Falls was capable of producing any good soul-food.

I got there and saw about five people in the building eating, two elder Caucasian men, an Asian couple and an older black guy. I thought to myself, either this place is bad, or its very unknown.

I sat down, was given a menu and looked it at for quite some time. I saw a few attention grabbers like catfish and hot wings, and I looked at the sides and saw fried green tomatoes and red beans and rice. I wasn’t sold just yet, but I was impressed. They even had a kids section on the menu with “baby shrimp,” grilled cheese, and chicken nuggets too. I saw that each meal comes with two sides and a drink, so I went ahead and ordered the No. 14: four piece fried catfish with a lemonade. I got fries and red beans and rice as my two sides and I also ordered fried pickles as an appetizer. My friend ordered the No. 15: six piece grilled catfish with fried okra, red beans and rice, and an orange soda.

The wait for my fried pickles was about six minutes. When I saw how many pickle were in the old school red food basket with the red and white checkerboard liner paper, the foodie in me was wide awake. I tasted the pickles, I thought to myself how salty they were, so I dipped the next one in ranch. Perfect combo! Ten minutes after that, the rest of the food arrived. Oh, was I in hog heaven. The first thing I went for was the red beans and rice and it was seasoned to perfection. Next, I snagged a piece of my friend’s grilled catfish, and that was good too. I grabbed a handful of fried okra and they were crunchy on the outside, yet soft on the inside.

Grilled Catfish with hushpuppies and onions from Sam’s Southern Eatery

The fries were subpar, but I dipped them in the house tartar sauce (which was amazing) and that gave them a little boost. When I went for my main attraction; the fried catfish, I was not disappointed. It was fried just right, not too soggy, yet not too crisp and seasoned well too. I hit it with my secret hot sauce/house tartar sauce dip combo and it was over with. I think it took me less than ten minutes to eat half (including my friend’s because I kept stealing bits and pieces of his grilled catfish).

The fish filets were average size, but for the price, I could not complain. The red beans and rice were in a small Styrofoam bowl (I would have ordered a large had I known my portion would be so small).

We got our bill, and much to our surprise, we didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg for all the food we ordered. My meal cost $9.99 while his cost $12.99 and the fried pickles were $5.99.

The waitress was polite and made sure we had everything we needed so my friend tipped her and we left, full and satisfied. When we paid, I grabbed a to go menu and made a mental note to always come here for good catfish, and next n my to-do list are their chicken wings.