Starnes Catfish Place: 1978-1996 | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Restaurants of Oxford’s Past


Martha Starnes, original owner

Billy Starnes was a commercial fisherman who caught everything that would brush up against his line at Sardis Lake. In 1979, he talked his wife into expanding their fish and bait shop business to include a cafe, where he could show off his finest catch, as well as some of his personal recipes. Starnes Catfish Place in Abbeville quickly became a popular spot. With their famously generous plates of fish, slaw and their unique onion salad, the couple couldn’t keep the crowds away. Billy Starnes passed away in 2001, but Martha kept feeding the masses. Ms. Starnes took ownership of Abbeville Catfish in 2004, a restaurant she and her husband originally opened in the early 1990s and sold a few years later. A few things have changed, but the great food and warm welcome have certainly stayed the same.

Date of interview:
2004-07-22 00:00

Amy Evans


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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

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