Owner Danny Lenertz came to Cherry Creek Catfish for 16 years as a food salesman and consultant at the original Manchaca Road location. He became good friends with the owner and bought the restaurant in 2011 after the owner died. He brought his food and family restaurant experience to the South Austin restaurant, and he opened the Leander location in 2015.

Lenertz describes his menu as southern comfort foods. A customer-favorite is the Cherry Creek trio —ribs, catfish and shrimp with seasoned or sweet potato fries, green beans, coleslaw and hushpuppies. He said his restaurant’s ribs will stand up against any other’s. Burgers, chicken-friend chicken, chicken-fried steak round out the menu’s specialties with “old-style” kitchen methods.

When Lenertz arrived, he said there were essentially no vegetables on the menu, and everything was served with french fries.

“Almost immediately I knew there needs to be changes,” he said.

The menu was overhauled to correct recipes back to their roots. Fried food was limited, and the menu introduced vegetarian options and healthier cooking techniques like grilling and blackening.

The original restaurant has been open over 20 years, but both restaurants have looked different in recent weeks.

The Leander restaurant closed its dining room on March 18. To-go and delivery services weren’t enough to keep the restaurant open, Lenertz said, and the restaurant limited its days to Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Major staff reductions were a byproduct of these difficulties.

Lenertz was hesitant to reopen dining rooms because of the looming liability of a staff member or customer becoming sick. He said more time was needed before making a decision to reopen doors.

“As long as I don't feel safe doing it, I wouldn't expect somebody to come to my place,” he said.

Future restaurant plans include reopening their patio space with live music and dining. Though the South Austin and Leander communities and restaurants are different, he is proud to have restaurants with familiar staff and customers who have stuck around for years.

“We've been able to provide for all of our customers a place to eat, and you don't have to come and eat the same thing every time,” Lenertz said.

Cherry Creek Catfish

11840 Hero Way W, Bldg. A, Leander

Hours: Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.