fried catfish from mother’s fish photo by david kovaluk

Mother's Fish has been a St. Louis landmark for over 30 years

Mother’s Fish didn’t start as a restaurant. Owner Sean Morris said that the original spot at North Spring Avenue and Olive Street began as a bar with a weekly fish fry for those in the know. His aunt and uncle, Evelyn and Levert Gordon, were the original owners, and his mother and grandmother would help cook on Fridays. “Once it really took off and a lot of people came, my mom suggested that we get a commercial deep fryer,” Morris said. “At first, it was cooked Mississippi-style out of deep pots, black skillets.” In the ’70s and early ’80s, before the days of NoWait, standing in line for Mother’s Fish was a badge of honor. “It was a tradition to wait an hour and a half on your food when you went down there on a Friday,” Morris said. 

mother's fish // photo by david kovaluk

The Gordons opened the restaurant proper in the early ’80s and ran it until Morris took over in 1995 and trademarked the name. Since then, it’s remained a family affair, with many locations all over St. Louis. Two are currently open: Morris runs Mother’s Fish on Grand Boulevard and his nephew, Toussaint Morris, took over the second remaining location a few years ago. “What’s important is carrying the name, continuing to help my family and friends,” Morris said. “It’s a community thing – something that’s able to serve the community.” 

The Morris family continues to do it the best way they know how – by cooking great fish. The menu features jack, catfish, tilapia and shrimp, as well as American fare like burgers, pork chops, tripe and fried chicken. Morris said the cat fillets and jack fillets are best-sellers. “It’s Southern-style everything, fried,” Morris said. “My aunt, my mother’s oldest sister, they were all born in Mississippi. A lot of that Mississippi flair is on the menu.” 

Mother’s Fish, 2738 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.833.4950, Facebook: Mother’s Fish; 6 S. Central Ave., Clayton, 314.499.7074, Facebook: Mother’s Fish - Clayton