The Catfish Plantation
The Catfish Plantation, located in Waxahachie, Texas is without a doubt my favorite place to eat. My husband and I make the drive to Waxahachie every chance we get, usually just to eat there. Their food is consistently tasty and the staff is consistently friendly.
I first discovered the Catfish Plantation probably ten years ago when I read about them in a book, "A Texas Guide to Haunted Restaurants, Taverns and Inns" by Robert Wlodarski and Anne Powell Wlodarski. I tried without success to get friends or family to go with me to try them out. It seems most I asked to go along were too afraid of the possibility of a run-in with a ghost. It wasn't until I divorced and remarried that I was able to convince my second husband to go there. He has a fascination with paranormal research and was excited to try it. We immediately fell in love with the place.
Yes, it's haunted. Have we personally experienced any paranormal activity? Not directly. We evidently just missed some during one of our recent visits. We were sitting outside after our meal while my husband had a cigarette before our drive back home when two gentlemen who had been sitting at a table next to us came outside telling us about an incident that we had just missed. They reported that the waiter had placed the silverware on one of the tables only to come back and have it in total disarray. This is one of the things that commonly happens there, along with missing knives. I do find myself looking at the silverware a lot whenever I visit in hopes of catching something.
We did have an unusual thing happen to us on 1/28/12 that we can't explain. I share this with you below after first giving you a little background history of the house.
Brief History of the House
The Catfish Plantation is located at 814 Water Street in Waxahachie, Texas in a former residence. The house was built in 1895 by the Anderson family. Legend has it that the daughter, Elizabeth Anderson was strangled on her wedding day in the house in 1920. It's not clear whether the strangler was her groom-to-be or a lover. The area of the house she was strangled is in the vicinity of the ladies' restroom.
A farm boy named Will lived in the house during the Great Depression and passed away in the 1930s.
This same house was the birthplace of Paul Rapier Richards (November 21, 1908 to May 4, 1986). He was a catcher and right-handed batter with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1932), New York Giants (1933-1935), Philadelphia Athletics (1935) and Detroit Tigers (1943-1946). After retiring, he became the manager of the Chicago White Sox (1951-1954, 1976) and Baltimore Orioles (1955-1961).
Another woman died in the house. Caroline Jenkins Mooney died in the house in 1970 from a stroke.
All three of these deceased occupants still haunt the house. Caroline seems to favor throwing things and slamming things. Elizabeth is the quiet one that is sometimes seen at the bay windows looking out towards the street. Will is also rather quiet. He lurks around the wrap-around porch area and flirts with the women.
Tom and Melissa Baker bought the house in 1984 and turned it into a restaurant. The Landis family bought the restaurant in 2007. Richard and Ann Landis are two of the nicest people you could hope to meet and almost without exception either one or both of them has been there when we've been there.
The Catfish Plantation has been investigated by a number of paranormal investigators. Their investigations and findings have been published on the Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel. The restaurant hosts pretty regular "Ghost Parties" where professional paranormal investigators are on site to show guests how to use state of the art equipment to ghost hunt. These parties do require reservations and a meal is included in the admission price. Space is very limited and these sell out quickly. I'm still hoping to attend one of these.
The Catfish Plantation serves some of the best catfish you'll ever eat. But, that's not all they're good at making. My husband loves their grilled shrimp, Aloha chicken and blackened chicken. My favorites are their catfish and the chicken-fried chicken. All of their food is freshly made. We've walked past the windows of the kitchen and seen them battering their own onion rings. The plantation puppies (hush puppies) are fantastic. The coleslaw is unlike any I've ever eaten. They're known far and wide for their sweet potato fries. They are battered in a sweet cinnamon batter, deep fried and then drizzled with butter. Oh my.
Whatever you do, save room for dessert, even if it means taking some of your entrée home with you. Their cobblers are wonderful. They have peach, blackberry, pecan and cherry. An overly generous portion is then topped with cinnamon ice cream. They also make a mean bread pudding that is topped with a white chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
For drinks, nothing beats their fresh squeezed cherry limeade.
Our Unusual Experience on 1/28/12
On 1/28/12, we paid a visit to our favorite eatery and found ourselves in the back room which is a location we rarely sit at. Since there were only two of us in my party we were seated in a table near the doorway with a large group of people directly behind us there to celebrate a birthday. They had brought the birthday gal to the Catfish Plantation with hopes of a little fun. They were very inquisitive about the paranormal activity experienced there and we overheard them asking the waitress a lot of questions. The waitress relayed her own personal experience of having the feeling of someone being right on her heels and being told by one of the ghosthunters that he had actually witnessed a long dark-haired woman following her around while he was there.
Just before leaving my husband stopped by the restroom while I took care of the ticket and arranged for our "to go" boxes since we always have food left over that we don't want to let go to waste. I was finished by the time he returned and I opted to stop by the restroom myself since we had about an hour's drive home.
While in the restroom I heard the sound of two people approaching the restroom door and then heard them trying the knob of the bathroom and seeing the knob move. I then heard a young girl giggling. I quickly washed my hands and opened the door expecting to see a young girl and her mother standing there patiently waiting to use the restroom. Instead, there was no one there.
As I made my way through the various rooms of the house to the back room we had been in I didn't find anyone with children and took note that I hadn't remembered seeing or hearing any children all evening either.
My husband was a smoker and wanted to have a quick cigarette outside by the car before we took off. I casually asked him if he had remembered seeing any children in the restaurant all evening. He said "no" and looked at me funny. I could tell that information meant something to him too. I told him about my experience and he remarked that the same thing had happened to him while he was in the restroom just ahead of me. He thought it was odd that he could hear a little girl giggling outside the men's restroom door. (The men and women's restrooms are separate rooms). He too had expected to see a child and a parent waiting to get in when he came out.
We spotted the owner standing near the back door of the restaurant and asked him if they had had any children in the restaurant during our visit. He agreed that there had been none. He confirmed that there had been no children with the wait staff either. He also indicated that they hadn't had any other reportings of similar activity from children.
Pictures from Some of Our Visits
All of the photos you see here were taken some time during the latter part of 2010.