Eats Beat

Catching up on catfish: A new Boo-Ray’s, plus updates at Zeke’s

Fried catfish with dirty rice, green beans with ham and hush puppies at Boo-Ray’s of New Orleans.
Fried catfish with dirty rice, green beans with ham and hush puppies at Boo-Ray’s of New Orleans.

You can’t talk about fried catfish in Fort Worth without talking about either Boo-Ray’s of New Orleans or Zeke’s.

Readers emailed right away last week to correct that oversight, and it turns out there’s news about Boo-Ray’s.

The Fort Worth-area temple of Cajun-Creole taste is expanding — not in time for Mardi Gras next week, but soon.

The newest Boo-Ray’s will open later this year in downtown Crowley.

Yes, downtown Crowley.

A former supermarket parking lot on East Main Street will become the newest Boo-Ray’s, extending an empire that began in Hudson Oaks and expanded to northwest Fort Worth.

We’ve joked that the Hudson Oaks Boo-Ray’s is the westernmost outpost of good southwest Louisiana cooking.

Founding chef Scott Marks came from Lake Charles to help launch a certain very successful Dallas-based Cajun chain.

He’s made Boo-Ray’s famous for its festive atmosphere, spices and sauces, including the creamy jalapeno sauce, meunière, crawfish hollandaise or “Bucktown” creamy shrimp and crab, along with some newer choices.

This is not some half-hearted Gulf seafood restaurant. This is a full-blast Cajun fish house, with plenty of blackened and fried seafood plus stuffed or blackened chicken, Patton’s Hot Sausage and po-boys on John Gendusa Bakery bread.

(Boo-Ray’s also wins its share of “best chicken-fried steak” polls.)

The current locations are open for lunch and dinner daily at 5728 Boat Club Road, Fort Worth, 817-236-6149, or 201 N. Lakeshore Drive, Hudson Oaks, 817-599-6266,

Zeke’s Fish & Chips isn’t new, but it’s always at or near the top of favorite lists for fried cod fish-and-chips or for fried catfish.

Since 1971, Zeke’s owner Mark Lidell has served the signature fish-and-chips battered from a recipe a German chef used at a 5-star New York hotel.

Fried catfish, fried okra, corn nuggets and hush puppies at Zeke’s Fish & Chips. Bud Kennedy

In recent years, Zeke’s has added fried catfish with a flour-cornmeal coating.

It’s closer to the stellar fried okra, zucchini and mushrooms.

One of the best deals in town is the Zeke’s dessert selection: brownies, chocolate-pecan Tugboat Annie bars and coconut-butterscotch “magic bars” for 80 cents.

Zeke’s offers daily specials. It usually has a line during Lent, so go early or late.

It’s open for lunch and dinner daily at 5920 Curzon Ave., 817-731-3321,

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Columnist Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth guy who covered high school football at 16 and has moved on to two Super Bowls, seven political conventions and 15 Texas Legislature sessions. Since 1985, he has also written more than 2,000 “Eats Beat” columns about Texas dining, restaurants and food.