Good to Go: Hershey's Palace Has Catfish Done Right Plus Two-Handed Sandwiches

Hershey's Palace in Arlington
Hershey's Palace in Arlington Lauren Drewes Daniels
Good to Go is a column where our food writers explore Dallas' restaurant scene through takeout orders, delivery boxes and reheated leftovers.

On a recent Saturday night, people leaned against their cars, scrolling through their phones as music played in the background, waiting for their orders outside Hershey’s Palace in downtown Arlington. 

This small, primarily to-go spot opened in early 2020, and while it’s been a strange year for most restaurants, this one has had a steady stream of white plastic bags filled with Styrofoam boxes of wings, catfish and sandwiches flowing out the door. 

Hershey, the owner, who declined to give his first name, is from Chicago, and the menu and decor inside reflects that: pizzas, Italian beef sandwiches and Philly cheesesteaks. The chicken wings and catfish fillets, both of which are made in-house, are also popular.  

click to enlarge Philly cheesesteak with fries and cheese - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Philly cheesesteak with fries and cheese
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The thick and heavy Philly cheesesteak requires both hands to eat. Actually, your best bet is to cut it in half. We tried ours with sweet peppers (you get a choice of hot or sweet). The cheese oozed across the steak, and this wersion had more flavor and character than others I’ve tried around here. 

But, the fried catfish is where it’s at here. I’ll be honest: I don’t like catfish because it’s always tough and flavorless. So, when we ordered it, I had low expectations. Well, I was wrong. The catfish here is completely different than the standard fare.

At Hershey’s, the fillets are breaded and fried under a watchful eye, not a second too long. The timing is perfect. The resulting thin fillets are fall-apart tender. One would be hard pressed to pick up one end of a strip and it not fall apart in the middle. The catfish also comes with two pieces of toast, a few hush puppies, fries and a side of coleslaw, plus tartar sauce made with neon-green relish. 

click to enlarge Catfish fillets that are fall-apart tender and cooked perfectly, not a second too long - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Catfish fillets that are fall-apart tender and cooked perfectly, not a second too long
Lauren Drewes Daniels
If you order the chicken wings, be sure to request the sauce; we didn’t realize this, so we just got a container full of wings, and they needed something.

The Italian beef is a house specialty, also. Customers can order the sandwich “dipped,” which we highly recommend. The jus inundates the bun with flavor. There’s not a single boring bite from end to end. 

click to enlarge Italian beef "dipped," with sweet peppers - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Italian beef "dipped," with sweet peppers
Lauren Drewes Daniels

Another night, we had the fried chicken sandwich. I had arrived one hot flash past hangry, which made the 25-minute wait like a casting call for a Snickers commercial. The sandwich is made with two thick chicken strips with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and a few slivers of purple onion. When we finally got our order, I devoured the sandwich; it was satisfying and filling. 

click to enlarge A chicken sandwich for when you're hangry - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
A chicken sandwich for when you're hangry
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Hershey is planning to expand his restaurant soon; he’s just waiting on a liquor license for now. He’ll knock down an adjacent wall so diners can mingle at the bar on one side and grab a bite to eat on the other. 

If you decide to try it, it’s best to call in your order, otherwise plan for a 30-minute wait. But everything is cooked as it's ordered, so there's beauty in the wait.

Parking can tough. That strip along Abrams Street has adopted the back-in-at-an-angle parking concept. Most cars don’t adhere to it, which makes leaving sort of a circus act and potentially entertaining. There's also parking behind the restaurant and at both ends of the strip.

Hershey’s Palace, 512 Abrams St., Arlington. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 682-323-5050.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.