No baked beans, no potato salad, no coleslaw.
Only pork ribs. With sauce. And Wonder bread.
After all, John was a businessman, and folks loved light bread to sop up the grease and sauce from his ribs. It wasn’t long after Big John died that his heirs started screwing up by adding a bunch of half-assed side dishes.
The menu at Barrow’s Catfish Restaurant is similarly bare-boned. There’s fried catfish in three different size platters. And yes, they do offer potato salad, made from scratch or french fries from a bag. But that’s it.This is a zero frippery menu, and the kitchen maintains a laser focus on what works: fried catfish.
The biggest platter here nets you seven deep-fried planks, perfectly cooked but in need of a jolt of salt to really make the batter sing. It’s enough fish for two people but the potato salad portion is on the small side of New Orleans accoutrement where most sides would make a lumberjack blush.
Small though it is, it punches well above its weight in flavor with plenty diced dill pickles giving an acid crunch to the nigh-mashed potatoes.
A few pieces of Bunny bread finish the plate.
The waitresses here are all business. The tiny dining room is packed and the servers jet up and down the aisles with singular determination. They’re not going to put their hands on their hip and call you ‘sugar’
A request for lemon was noted, and then forgotten.
Barrow’s Shady Inn had a 62 year run before the federal flood put the old operation down. It took the family 13 years to get back up and running.A recent Thursday visit in the mid-afternoon when most restaurants are seeing tumbleweeds roll through their dining room found Barrow’s at capacity, and on a brief wait. A phone man in an alcove at the business’s entrance was taking to go orders at a frantic pace.
Barrow’s sources their catfish from Guidry’s out of Breaux Bridge. The concern has a network of Louisiana and Mississippi farms from which they source.
The old Barrow’s Shady Inn building, the original operation run by William Barrow, still stands just a few blocks away at 2714 Mistletoe Street.
It won’t be long before the menu at Barrow’s will grow and evolve. The clamor for macaroni and cheese or turnip greens or hushpuppies will grow to a deafening roar and the family will have to answer to their clientele.
As we walk outside an egret has decided to land on a nearby light pole. He probably heard about Barrow’s matchless fried catfish and called in an order for takeaway.
8300 Earhart Blvd
New Orleans, Louisiana
Hours of operation
Always call ahead