MS Greenwood, Lusco's (gossip) & Indianola's Crown Restaurant
Bridgewater Inn Bed & Breakfast owner, Lucy Cooper, makes hot tamales with rice paper because it is easier to keep the water out while cooking.
Lusco's: Excellent pampano with very tangy vinegar sauce; nice spinach souffle; great broiled shrimp with Lusco sauce (Worcestershire).
Gossip: The curtained off tables as a hold over from prohibition days seemed fishy. They opened in 1933. How much of a reputation could they get in the last few years before it was repealed to justify keeping the curtains around for 70 more years?
Answer: The curtains were used to hide the cotton bosses' rendevouses with their mistresses (and maybe still be so even to this day). The boss would enter through the front door while the mistress would be shuttled in through the back door.
The buzzers on the inside of the rooms were not only to call the waiters but also as a signal that it was "safe" to enter through the curtains, as you didn't know what would be going on in there, a local said. The owners will deny this but locals know it as true.
More gossip: "Don’t flip the butter" signs were put on the tables about 5 years ago after the Health Dept came and said the owners had to stop diners from using their knife to flip butter patties onto the tin ceiling, where it would stay until it melted, falling on the next diner. (The hilt of the knife would be held by one hand on gthe edge of the table and the blade was used to catapult the butter to the cieling.) Lusco had to repaint the cieling but the only thing that would paint over all the grease was swimming pool paint. No signs on the tables as of today.
And wierdness: The over-the-top luxury of the Alluvian Hotel & corporate headquaters of Viking stoves give the town a split personality. That area is like Disneyland, with picture perfect stores and White people for a four-block radius. Ten blocks over, where Lusco's is, is the same Black poverty since the depression.
In the Alluvian Hotel is Giardina's, in Greenwood since 1936. It has gone very upscale but something looked odd: the tables are in curtained off booths exactly like Lusco's. A copycat? No, apparently Lusco's was slated to open there and had the place designed that way, only to back out afterwards for unclear reasons, leaving the interior as is.
Maybe this is a known quanity to Hounds, but the Crown Restaurant in Indianola is amazing. They serve catfish every-which-a-way and each delicious. The Alison was my favorite. And the owner was so darlin', she had us take a piece of all the pies and other desserts from the desert table, including Chess, Plantation, Coconut, & Mississippi Mud pies just because we were out-of-towners. Lovely place, precious owner (who was also waiting tables) and worth a detour for food and atmosphere (a full cadres of "ladies" were having their luncheon. I haven't seen that much teased hair and hair spray since the 60's).
Also outside Indianola, in Anguilla, there is a BP gas station at US 61 & US 14 (N32 58.406 W90 49.456) with catfish, chicken, and ribs that were pretty good.
You're making me homesick. Thanks for the Anguilla tip, of all things--I pass through that intersection a couple of times a year and will definitely stop next time.
It was my understanding that Giardina's always had curtains - well, since they transitioned to a sit-down place from the original drive-in. I think that was in the '40s. Lusco's did have the curtains first, though.
I love Giardina's at the Alluvian (and I love to stay at the Alluvian, too) - their fish dishes especially are good, but I don't care much for their tamales. I like the tamales at Scott's and Doe's in Greenville best.
BTW, since you were at the Crown in Indianola, did you bring home any catfish pate? :)
Luscos is one of my favorite restaurants in the world - I grew up eating there regularly! This makes me long for home...
I will let you know when I return Sunday. My wife and I are spending Saturday night at The Alluvian and having dinner at Lusco's........seems like this will be my 100th trip to Greenwood for dinner. Great place. Here's an interesting link for Greenwood and MS Delta folks..........