For many customers, Ezell’s Fish Camp is much more than a restaurant. It is a cultural institution, representing a way of life very much connected to the community’s river heritage and to family tradition. This well-known landmark, on the Tombigbee River, began as a small “dogtrot” log cabin, with two rooms joined by a central breezeway, that some believe was built by a French fur trader during the mid-1800s. Charles Agnew Ezell later obtained the property and used it to meet packet boats that brought manufactured goods and supplies from Mobile. The elder Ezell son, C. A., became a successful commercial fisherman employing other fishermen throughout the river region. C. A. used the cabin as his home and the base for his fishing operation. Later, he used the cabin as a hunting camp attracting guests from all over the state. Large fish fries were held in the 1930s. Pauline, the original cook, had a huge pot in the yard where catfish and hushpuppies were cooked and sold for fifty cents per plate. The hunting camp evolved into a full-time, public restaurant in the mid-1950s.
Over the years, several rooms have been added to the building to provide space needed for the restaurant. However, when entering the restaurant, you are reminded of the humble beginning of Ezell’s. In the entrance and the two adjoining rooms, you will observe that the walls are large, hand-hewed logs. This is the original “dogtrot” where it all began.
Ezell’s Fish Camp is still owned and operated by the Ezell family and they are still serving the same delicious catfish, hushpuppies, and “world famous” slaw that has been bringing customers back for decades.
Ezell’s Fish Camp is located on the west bank of the Tombigbee River just north of the Hwy 10 river bridge at Lavaca, AL (GPS Coordinates 32.134996, -88.041820).
Sources: 1) EzellsFishCamp.com; 2) Historic Choctaw Tour, by Ann H. Gay; 3) Alabama Black Belt Nature and Heritage Trail, a publication of the Alabama Bureau of Tourism & Travel.