Cooter’s Catfish bringing seafood and breakfast to Hillside

Published 11:40 am Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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Cooter’s Catfish is set to be the final to be the final piece in DASH’s commercial redevelopment in Hillside. The new catfish joint will join Home and Thread, Oink Joint, Rock Salt Milk Bar and Dapper Den as tenants in the Hillside retail re-use project.

For owners Nikki Woodyard and Larry Hall, the restaurant offers a second career. The couple decided to open the business after Hall began experiencing health issues.

Woodyard said Hall had a flare-up of his sciatic nerve last summer while running his construction business. Hall eventually recovered after a trip to urgent care but after being in bed for a couple of days he began to think of a different career.

“I’ve got to come up with another profession. I can’t keep climbing up ladders going on top of roofs and jumping off decks. I can’t keep doing this stuff with this kind of pain,” Hall told Woodyard.

The two began brainstorming and eventually landed on starting a restaurant. Larry knew his way around a kitchen due to his family owning a wing restaurant many years ago, and Nikki figured she could help because her career, doing bookkeeping and tax prep, only takes up so much of her time.

“At first, we talked about just doing like a breakfast spot and then we were going to do just fish and grits, shrimp and grits and biscuits.  That kind of stuff, just a breakfast spot,” Woodyard said. “Then as we were coming up with the menu and coming up with the name, it just kind of blossomed.”

Larry said the name comes from a childhood nickname. People used to call him Cooter, he said.

Woodyard said they now plan to be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Their breakfast menu features shrimp and catfish with grits, along with biscuits, eggs, hash browns and more traditional breakfast proteins like bacon and sausage.

The lunch and dinner menu offers a wider variety of dishes and appetizers ranging from pork chops, lamb chop and ribs to burgers, chicken tenders and more.

Woodyard said they are planning a grand opening on April 12. She said a few days earlier they will do an invite-only soft opening to make sure everything is ready for the official opening.