Places to Eat

We’re Not Lion(fish)! The DownTowner Has the Most Creative Menu in New Braunfels

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What is deep fried, potentially deadly and delicious at New Braunfels’ most curious of new eateries? No, not just the chicken fried steak. It’s the deep fried lionfish that is being served at The DownTowner Bar and Kitchen. The DownTowner is located in (you guessed it!) Downtown New Braunfels in the Ol’ Bossy Milk Company building – a fixture of the town’s dining scene in the 1950s.

Mmmmm…Crispy!

fried lionfish

Photo: Facebook/The Downtowner Bar and Kitchen

Chad Niland is the owner and executive chef of The DownTowner. Niland wanted a menu item that was open to different variations and exotic. Enter: The lionfish. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA) This invasive species was introduced to the United States’ coastal areas in the 1980s, likely from aquariums. Originating from the Indian and Pacific Oceans, lionfish have no natural predator. As a result, their incredible numbers are harming the area reefs in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

While the waters off of the Florida coast have been plagued by the species, they can also now be found in the Gulf of Mexico around Texas. Catching them takes special skill due to their venomous spines. Fishermen have to spear the creatures in order to safely catch them without getting poked by the spines (which cause swelling and seizures in humans).

How Harmful Are Lionfish in The Gulf of Mexico?

lionfish

Photo: Flickr/Florida Fish and Wildlife

Lionfish are considered an invasive species and part of the reason why is the rate at which they procreate. Lionfish in the Gulf of Mexico are capable of releasing up to 115,000 eggs (average: 27,000) as often as every two to three days. They are also known to eat native fish and crustaceans in very large quantities.

The DownTowner Bar and Kitchen in New Braunfels

the downtowner

Photo: Facebook/DownTowner Bar and Kitchen

Luckily, lionfish aren’t harmful to humans by the time they make their way to your dinner table. The spines are trimmed prior to preparation and the meat is said to be delicious. At The DownTowner, you’ll find this fish prepared blackened, deep fried, and in their signature po boy sandwich.

What better way to help the environment than by eating a fish as invasive as the lionfish? Your belly and the Gulf of Mexico will thank you. What if lionfish doesn’t excite your palate? The DownTowner has lots of more traditional, Southern, home-cooking items on the menu. Standouts are the biscuits with honey butter and the fried chicken. Visit The DownTowner Bar and Kitchen website to learn more.