Goshen restaurant competes for ‘best in Bama’ honors

Published 3:00 am Saturday, July 23, 2016


Amy Chandler of the Old Barn serves a plate of the restaurant’s signature catfish dish to patrons. The Goshen eatery has been nominated for a ‘best of Bama’ award for the way it prepares catfish.

The Old Barn Restaurant in Goshen is one of four finalists in the inaugural Bama’s Best Catfish Restaurant Challenge, sponsored by the Alabama Catfish Producers.

The Catfish Challenge highlights and rewards Alabama restaurants for serving tasty and nutritious U.S. farm-raised catfish.

“I didn’t even know about the contest until I get the call that the Old Barn was one of the finalists in the Catfish Challenge,” said Amy Chandler who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Scottie. “I was so surprised and excited that we made the final four. I thought, wow, this is big and I didn’t even have to vote for myself.”

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The Old Barn took top honors for the Best Steak in Alabama in 2015. The contest was sponsored by the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association.

“And to be finalist for the best catfish, too, is a great honor,” Candler said. “We always take pride in the food that we serve and in our service. When we decided to put catfish on the menu, clean fish was our top priority. I don’t know how many brands we tried but, once we found the right band, we have not changed. The catfish that we serve is a clean tasting product.”


The Old Barn serves fried, grilled and blackened catfish fillets and whole fried catfish. And, when the judges for the Best Catfish Restaurant Challenge come to dine next month, Chandler said she will serve a smorgasbord of all the ways The Old Barn serves catfish.

“We’ll want the judges to get a little nibble of it all,” Chandler said, with a smile.

However, she did admit that being a finalist in the Catfish Challenge put on the pressure.
“We’re excited and honored to be a finalist but, then, we want to follow it on through, so there’s a lot of pressure that goes with it. But it’s good pressure.”

More than 150 nominations were received in the Catfish Challenge. Other finalists are David’s Catfish House in Andalusia, Pat’s Perfections in Centre and The Green Leaf Grill in Mentone.

The judges for the Catfish Challenge will be Alabama Agriculture and

Industries Commissioner John McMillan, WSFA news anchor Judd Davis, Alabama

Farmers Cooperative’s Jim Allen and State Catfish Committee Chairman Will Pierce.

The winner of Alabama’s Best Catfish Restaurant will be announced in August, which is National Catfish Month. The winning restaurant will receive a trophy, a cash prize and will be featured in the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Neighbors magazine.

The person nominating the winning restaurant will also receive prizes from the

Alabama Catfish Producers.

The Alabama Catfish Producers is a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation, the

state’s largest farm organization with more than 350,000 members.

Alabama farmers currently produce more than 100 million pounds of catfish per

year with an annual economic impact to the state of over $158 million