Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rayner's Seafood House

For sometime have heard friends and family rave about Rayner's Seafood on Hwy 49 North of Hattiesburg. Having never tried it the wife and I stopped in a few nights ago. I love catfish and it's been their speciality for more than 40 years.

With that kind of track record, I admit I went in with very high expectations. Plus, lets face it we're in Mississippi, you can get a pretty decent catfish dinner at any Church fund raiser or on just about any corner. Fried catfish has been one of my favorite Southern staples for years.

They've spiffied up the outside of the restaurant in the past couple of years, but the inside was dimly lit, and could use a major over-hall. At the same time, I understand that people don't usually go to a catfish house for the ambiance, they go for heaping mounds of golden fried fillets.

After a brief glimpse at the menu, I ordered the "All you can eat" catfish fillet dinner, my wife ordered the three piece fillet dinner.

It was served with cold-slaw, fries and hush puppies. The sides were all about average with the hush puppies being a little above average.

I have to say I was underwhelmed with the catfish itself, the breading was rather bland and they were not nearly as crispy as I would like, almost as if the fryers were not quite hot enough for cooking.

I went in really wanting to agree with so many others and was wishing I could rave about it on the blog. I love down home, mom and pop, places more than anything. I may give it another try at some point, but with so many really good catfish houses in and around Hattiesburg, it'll probably be in the distant future.

Rayner's Seafood House on Urbanspoon


  1. I totally agree!!! That is why I quit a few years back. Very good review though. A+ ;)

  2. I'm glad that I am not the only one or caught them on an off night. I really wanted to like this place, but in the end I just didn't like what they were offering.

  3. Go ahead and eat at the nasty buffets.Rayners will cook the fish as chrispy as you like it just ask.They have the best fish,slaw,hushpuppies,and shrimp around.Just remember the buffets are full of germs from dirty hands,sneezing,and no telling what else.I knew a man that ordered fish at a well known fish house and the waiter went to the buffet and got his order.He decided to walk out and went a couple of miles to rayners to get good fish cooked when ordered by good hard working Christian people.So you hav'nt hurt rayners one bit.

  4. I loved their food, i almost wanted to by another plate. I didn't feel they served quite enough for the price we paid though.

  5. If you go to Rayners to dine, and are not satisfied, it is your own fault. The people there go way beyond to make sure your satisfaction is met. All you have to do is tell them. They can not fix a problem if they do not know about it!!!!

  6. I have no complaints against the food at Rayner's. The catfish is great, the hushpuppies above average, the coleslaw is all right. The reason my husband and I stopped going to Rayner's years ago is the service. Either there is only one or two people there to wait on all the tables or else the cook seems to be backed up with orders it takes between 35 - 45 minutes to get our order on the table.

    One time we went and there was only one waitress serving but then it was a slow night and there were only about three or four tables with people at them. My husband and I were the second couple to arrive. The other two couples arrived about 10 and 20 minutes after us. We gave the waitress our order of catfish and were served our drinks. The food didn't arrive at our table until EVERYONE else's arrived at their table, 40 minutes later. That was the last time my husband and I went there on our own.

    The last time we went there was with the Pine Belt Enlisted Association, a group of retired military people. There were apx 25 in the group and we had the private room in the back. There was only one person to serve the entire group and once again it took more than 40 minutes for anyone to get any food to eat and most of us ordered catfish.

    So now not only don't my husband and I go to Rayner's any more, but everyone who attended the dinner that night. The catfish, once it arrived, was fine. The service wasn't up to par and it was frustrating to watch the waitress visit with other customers or be in the kitchen, and not serving food.

    Once my husband and I went there and when we were ready to leave, no employees had been seen for a while in the dining area. So, we stood by the cash register and counter in hopes that someone would appear to give us our check and take our money. About five minutes later another couple joined us at the cash register. After another five minutes, I grabbed a menu and figured out what our bill was, and was about to leave the money on the counter when someone finally came out of the kitchen. I gave them the money and left without a word.

    The food at Rayner's is good to excellent as far as the catfish goes. The service is a whole other thing.