Hwy 41 Fish and Steak House. @ 4390 hwy 41, Pontotoc, MS. Opens at 4:30pm, Thursday through Sunday for supper. Accepts cash and local checks only.
What do you call a restaurant that doesn’t advertise, has no signs telling who they are? Operate in an old, white, concrete block building, in the middle of the country? And a gravel parking lot in front, and room to tie up your horses in back?
In this case, you’d call them 41 Fish & Steak House! An award winning, locally owned restaurant for over 50 years!
If you’ve traveled Hwy 41 near Ponotoc, you’ve probably passed the local favorite and never even noticed. Or maybe wondered why all those cars were parked in front of that old building?
Well, those folks inside were ordering steak, quail, oysters, shrimp, burgers, chicken, homemade cakes, award winning MIssissippi raised Catfish and more!
I had passed the old concrete building many times but wasn’t sure what it was. Till a former co-worker filled me in. He said the restaurant’s claim to fame was their whole catfish, slaw, and hushpuppies.
He gave me directions since they don’t advertise, and said that since he lived nearby he would regularly ride his horse to dinner and tie him up around back. Now folks, that’s COUNTRY!
When you first walk in, you may find a box of homemade cake for sale by the slice, prepared by local bakers. And many items that would be considered antique, but could have been placed when brand new.
For eating in, there’s a large dining room up front with two long hallways lined with individual rooms. I’m told that even with space in the big room, locals will wait for a private space. They have rooms for four, six, and some with several tables to choose from.
Although the rooms continue the stark, white, concrete block theme, the wood dining room doors are simply beautiful. They remind me of an antique horse stall door with large wooden slide locks.
Every room has a single menu, handwritten on a large piece of cardboard taped to the wall. Simple, but effective.
When asked what I wanted to order, the menu wasn’t even needed. They have won numerous awards for best whole catfish, best hushpuppies, and best coleslaw. So there’s your sign! Throw in some crinkle fries and and I’m ready roll!
Unless you want the child’s plate with just one fish, the all you can eat plate for $14 is what you get. With two whole fish to start, they were huge, plenty of delicious white meat, and perfectly crispy crust. I was soon ordering two more!
The cole slaw has to be a longtime family recipe modified by future generations till it was perfection! It was chopped fine, with a perfect blend of spices and sauces so it’s not to dry, corse, or wet. As goldilocks would say, just right!
Some may think of hushpuppies as an afterthought, but getting the recipe and outer layer just right is an art form. And whoever prepares 41’s hushpuppies is a
bona fide Maestro! Retaining just enough grease for flavor, and crunchy edges to savor before even biting into the middle. Each one is like snowflake with no two the same.
Put all three of the award winners together on a plate and you’ve got a meal worth traveling many a mile by car, truck, or horse for the best Pontotoc has to offer!
As my belly was about stretched to its limit, about to call it quits, one of the crew was going room to room handing out slices of two layer chocolate cake. And like my main course, it was perfection. Perfectly moist, packed just a little dense, and absolutely delicious!
So when traveling, don’t be quick to dismiss an eatin’ place because of what you see or don’t see on the outside. Count the cars and horses and trust that it’s what’s inside that counts!
Visit them soon for the experience and award winning food. Remember to bring some green, since they don’t accept cards. And tell them I sent ya!
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