To food lovers, Flying Fish in Little Rock’s River Market is a good ol’ down-home restaurant known throughout the state as one of the best places to get great seafood. While that’s very true, Flying Fish is also notable for something only regular customers and kitschy gift lovers would notice. The restaurant is also a home for abandoned Billy Bass novelty displays. As you feast your eyes on the delicious entrees and appetizers available (thanks to Little Rock Soiree for reviewing the restaurant and sharing what’s good), take a look around at what’s decorating the restaurant walls.


Whether you’re a novice angler or you’re a professional at casting your line, you’ve heard of Big Mouth Billy Bass. In fact, you’ve probably heard him belting out a fishy cover of “Take Me To The River” or “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Even if you’ve never baited a hook in your life, you’re still likely to be able to recall the incredible popularity this novelty item enjoyed in the late 1990s well into the 2000s before the trend finally faded.


You might have thought the far-reaching fame of Billy Bass swam off into the sunset, but that’s not so! Flying Fish came to the rescue of all Big Mouthed Billy Bass novelty gifts that were otherwise turned away by recipients with little patience for singing plastic fish…or maybe they just had no sense of humor at all. Either way, the abandoned masses of Billy Basses around America found a home on the walls at Flying Fish. The collection has grown to the point where the fish now hang from the ceiling in various places! In the beginning stages of collecting (or adopting) Billy Basses, diners were given a free basket of catfish. Nowadays, visitors to the River Market who dine on great seafood can also take a moment to recall when Billy Bass was king of the kitsch. The sister restaurant in Dallas features the same on their walls—perhaps a comeback in nostalgic popularity can’t be ruled out?


Next time you’re in Little Rock and out and about in the River Market, stop by Flying Fish and enjoy a great meal. Pay your respects to Big Mouthed Billy Bass, too. (The batteries are taken out of the lively animatronic fish, but the spirit of the singing bass still lives on.) Thanks to Flying Fish and their efforts to preserve a part of crazy culture!


If you’ve eaten at Flying Fish, were you taken aback by the collection of adopted Big Mouthed Billy Basses everywhere? Don’t you agree it just fits the theme of the restaurant perfectly? Sound off on Flying Fish and how much we appreciate their awesome food and great sense of style (and humor)!

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