It was a cold, winter night in 2017 when Steven Thomas and a group of hungry friends decided to ditch the hefty food delivery fees and walk the short distance from Baker Hall West to Catfish Biff’s Pizza & Subs on West 11th Avenue.
Thomas, now a fourth-year in English, said that at the time, he had never been to the restaurant, but by the end of the night, he and his friends had such a good time that they made it a point to regularly go back.
“Me and my friends, we’re like a real goofy crowd — especially my freshman year friends — so we were just dancing, vibing to the music, waiting for our pizza to be done, and overall it was just a nice little experience,” Thomas said. “We came back to our dorms and were just like, ‘Yeah we gotta do that again. We gotta do that more often.’”
Thomas is just one of the many students whose time at Ohio State has been impacted by Catfish Biff’s since it first opened in 1984, according to Lantern archives. But for the time being, the restaurant is closed.
Catfish Biff’s announced on its Facebook page March 26 that after much consideration, the restaurant will close until further notice due to COVID-19. The restaurant posted an updated announcement Aug. 21 on its Twitter page that they will remain closed until January.
The Lantern reached out to Catfish Biff’s to discuss its decision to temporarily close, but the restaurant did not respond by the time of publication.
Thomas said he wants Catfish Biff’s to remain in business but does agree with the decision to temporarily close considering the small size of the restaurant.
“Whatever it takes to ensure that people are safe during a pandemic, I’ll support that,” Thomas said.
Whether the joint is currently in business or not, Thomas said what matters most is the experiences he had at Catfish Biff’s.
“It’s not even necessarily about the business itself or what they sell, it’s just about the memories that you have of that place,” Thomas said. “It’s just something that I can always look back on and be proud of and be thankful for.”
Meera Patel, a fourth-year in medical laboratory sciences, lived in Park-Stradley Hall during her second-year and said Catfish Biff’s was a place she would often stop by for a bite to eat after class or a night out with friends.
“Besides the fact that they have really good pizza, it’s just a spot that me and my friends hold and share in our memories,” Patel said.
Patel said she does think it would have been possible for Catfish Biff’s to successfully run its business while maintaining health standards during the pandemic but that she also understands and respects the decision to stay closed for the time being.
“I wish they opened and I think they would’ve gotten some amazing business this semester, but I get that they had to close,” Patel said.
For Marc Millwater, an Ohio State alumnus who graduated in 1991, Catfish Biff’s late hours and convenient South Campus location are what set the restaurant apart from others at the time.
In contrast to both Patel and Thomas, Millwater said his favorite menu item at Catfish Biff’s are its subs.
“They had the best ham and cheese and italian subs on campus, it wasn’t even close,” he said.
It’s been at least five years since Millwater last visited Catfish Biff’s, but he said it felt like it hadn’t changed since his time on campus — and hopes that students today make the restaurant part of their years at Ohio State.
“Students lose some of the experience of being an Ohio State student when a place like Catfish Biff’s closes,” Millwater said.