About The Catfish Place

The Johnson family would like to take this opportunity to welcome each and every guest to our establishment. We take pride in trying to make you feel at home whether it is your first, or one of many visits.

In 1973, Steve and Judy left 10-year careers at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, to try their hand at the restaurant business. The 20 seat and 10 stool restaurant, serving such items as chicken and sandwiches, was off to a slow start. We decided a special menu was needed, something you couldn’t get at a fast food restaurant.

Since Steve was a native Floridian it was decided to feature native Florida foods and the Catfish Place became a reality. Since 1973. our family has prided itself in serving customers the freshest catfish available. Our catfish is caught daily in Lake Okeechobee (it is not pond-raised). We prepare it fresh on the premises every day (never frozen). As catfish became a popular menu favorite, we added other Florida specialties like soft-shelled turtle from local lakes and wild gator from the Central Florida marshes. To compliment these Florida specialties, we developed our own coleslaw, hush puppies, homemade hash browns, sauces and breading mixes.

Little advertising has been done to promote the great tastes of the Catfish Place, but over the years, word-of-mouth referrals have brought diners from across the United State and abroad. The Catfish Place’s reputation has awarded us feature articles in such periodicals as Southern Living, Steve Birnbaum’s Guide to Walt Disney World, Famous Florida Restaurants, and Michael and Jane Stern’s Taste of America. We were especially honored when world renowned chef’s Emeril Lagasse and Robert Irvine filmed from our restaurant for a segment on their TV shows.

Over the years, all five children: Bob, Jeff, Alan, Deana and Randy have had a hand in the restaurant business.  Deana and Randy continue the family tradition here in St. Cloud. One of them is usually here so ask for them and say hello.

We serve a great deal of repeat customers and feel it is due in part to our long-term employees and the southern hospitality they promote. We are really proud of our staff at the Catfish Place and especially our managers. Debbie Taylor, our General Manager, has been with us for 36 years and is very experienced in all areas of the restaurant operations. Mary Smith started with the restaurant two weeks after we opened, and has given us 40 years of incredible service, and we LOVE her. Cinda Barber has worked with us for 28 years and is a dining room manager. The newest members of our management team are Michelle Roberts and Denise Dumars. All of these people pride themselves in seeing that you get the best food service possible. If you ever have a problem with our restaurant, please ask for one of the managers, as one is here at all times.

The Catfish Place boasts over 800 years of restaurant experience….It must be the leading factor of our consistency in great food and great service. Don’t you agree!

Sadly, we must inform you that Steve passed away suddenly on November 25, 2005. He was an inspiration and great teacher to all of us. We certainly intend to continue the great traditions he started at the Catfish Place. We plan to be here for many years to come. Have you seen the grandchildren running around the restaurant? They are “Managers in Training”. What a treat it will be for us to have them continue our family’s tradition.

We would like to thank all of our faithful customers and friends who have patronized our restaurant for all these years. Enjoy your meal!

Judy Johnson
Deana Johnson Taylor
Randy Johnson

We feel one of the reasons we have so many repear customers is the familiarity of employees and their length of service. Very few restaurants can boast about their employees as we can.


Judy Johnson
40 Years
Mary Smith
40 Years
Debbie Taylor*
36 Years
Bonnie Dixon
33 Years
Cinda Barber*
28 Years
Deana Johnson Taylor*
27 Years
Lorraine Wagner
17 Years
Kathy LeHeup
12 Years
Lisa Hanna
11 Years
Care Armstrong
11 Years
James Parker
11 Years
Michelle Roberts*
10 Years
Kristine Golden
9 Years
Denise Dumars*
9 Years
Justin Pinder
9 Years
Florence Gies
9 Years
Keving Douglas
9 Years
Randy Johnson*
8 Years
Margeret Stone
7 Years

* Denotes Manager