Friday, October 30, 2015

The Other Arlington, the One in Texas

Eons ago the big thrill in my young life was to get to go to Arlington, Texas for dinner, or shopping. A bit later this was the place to go on Friday or Saturday night to see and be seen on the University drag, and even later still it was the location of the first home I owned. While traffic is still a headache, the town has changed, growing larger and enticing businesses, tourist attractions, and sports venues to the central part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Arlington is the third largest municipality in the metropolitan area and the largest city in the
Top L to R: Spain, France
Middle L to R: Mexico, Texas
Bottom L to R: Confederacy, United States
state that is not a county seat. Home to a General Motors assembly plant and the original Six Flags over Texas Amusement park, it’s also the location of the Texas Rangers Ball Park (Globe Life Park) and AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play (on some occasions) football. It is about 12 miles (19 km) east of downtown Fort Worth and 20 miles (32 km) west of downtown Dallas.

The history of Arlington goes back to the early 1840s when agriculture began to be
established as farmers discovered the area. Of course, this area was not free from conflicts with the Native Americans who lived in the area, but a trading post was built in about 1841 and Arlington was on its way to becoming a town. Formally founded in 1876 when the Texas and Pacific Railway came to town, Arlington was named after Robert E. Lee’s house in Arlington, Virginia. While the city experienced steady growth, when the General Motors assembly plant opened in 1954, the population boomed. Tom Vandergriff, mayor from 1951 to 1977, supported this growth and did all he could to keep Arlington an attractive place for business and industry.

Three and one-half Carrots
Catfish Sam’s (2735 W Division Street, Arlington, TX 76012, 817-275-9631) has been around for years. The last time I was there it was a smoke-filled, fishy smelling, café with
Left T to B: Menu, Shrimp
Right T to B: Sides, Catfish strips, Catfish filets
waitresses who called the customers ‘honey’. When we visited it, the waitresses were carrying on the tradition of calling the customers by pet names, but everything else about the restaurant has been updated – and that’s a good thing. The rooms are clean and fresh, there are no lingering odors, and there is definitely no smoking allowed. The other thing that hasn’t changed is the excellent catfish! Portions are large with the cold sides coming to the table on a lazy Susan; the dishes are refilled as needed, so you don’t run out of these. The sides are slaw, green tomato relish, pickled okra, dill pickles, fresh onion, red beans and lots of lemon. Of course, in a basket next to the side dishes were a bushel of hush puppies and several slices of garlic toast. Dave had two catfish filets; Vince had shrimp; I had the catfish strips. Yeasty rolls and honey were all we needed for dessert. All of us took home ‘doggie bags’. For information about my rating system, see
Reading the Reviews.

Polk Berries
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