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Mar 14, 2011 02:17 PM

Clarksdale, MS

I'll be there for the Juke Joint festival this year. I searched here but did not find a lot of info on Clarksdale, MS. Based on this thread,

I assume Freeman's places will be nuts but will try to get in and want to try the tamales at Hicks. Any other suggestions?



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  1. Well, I've spent a good amount of time in Clarksdale, and have been to the Juke Joint Festival.

    Morgan Freeman's places have not impressed me (both Madidi, which is the finer-dining place, and Ground Zero) but they seem to both have impressed plenty of others.

    Abe's BBQ has been in business since the '20s, I think. It's a barbecue place but I'm not wild about their 'que. At all. Microwave in use. They serve tamales too, so if you find yourself there...

    Definitely go to Hick's for tamales. My favorite.

    Chamoun's Rest Haven -- a diner with Lebanese food. My favorite part of our meal here, though, was the pie.

    Every time we go to Clarksdale, we run into Kim's, which is not a restaurant at all, but they cook cracklins (pork and chicken) in giant woks. These are sold all over MS like you'd find Golden Flake here. My husband brings home a case (and they will happily mix flavors).

    I've always wanted to go to Henry's Place which is up the road in Moon Lake -- I'm hoping Littleman will add to this discussion, as I'm pretty sure he will have been here and will be able to recommend (or not).

    BTW, convenience stores in this area will be selling koolickles!

    Have a great trip.

    Ground Zero
    2230 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

    Rest Haven
    419 N State St, Clarksdale, MS 38614

    1. If you want to try the best Clarksdale has to offer have an early lunch at Ground Zero which is owned by Morgan Freeman and two of his friends. Get a plate lunch or sandwich but eat light. The Blues Museum is next door. Before you leave Clarksdale, MS go to Hick's and get another light lunch of BBQ and tamales. This way you get the best of Clarksdale. Morgan owns Madidi's which is a fine dining restaurant a few blocks from Ground Zero if you would like to stop in for drinks and/or snacks before you leave Clarksdale, MS. It's very nice and highly recommended. The bar opens at 5 PM. There's an old neat store that sells a lot of junk across the street from Madidi's and plenty of places for the wife to purchase items to take home. I wish you could visit Oxford, MS. If not then plan 6/7 hours in Clarksdale. Have an early lunch at GZ, visit the Museum, walk around downtown and shop, get some tamales at Hick's. After lunch head back S on Sunflower by the river and stop at Hick's just to visit. Take a right on Highway 61 which is State St. Go across the river and Hick's is on the right in nice red brick building. Go in visit and get a cold drink. Talk to Eugene and look at his pictures when President Clinton visited. On your way N stop at The Ranchero and get a cold drink. Charlie Conerly who was a famous QB for the NY Giants lived in Clarksdale and there are all kinds of old sports photo's there of Conerly and some of his old buddies. It's a fun place and the food is outstanding. Here's a link to Clarksdale Blues. A lot of folks like the Shack Up Inn to stay in Clarksdale. I like The Alluvian. They have a spa, fine dining and cooking school. The Shack Up is a shack but different.

      I really hope you find time to visit Oxford. It's my favorite town in Mississippi. If so head N on State St. to Highway 278/6 E to Batesville/Oxford. It's about 60 miles to Oxford. You should be there around 3PM. When you get to Oxford you will come to a red light and Jackson Ave. going to the left. Go straight ahead and get off at the first Exit which is Coliseum Dr. Get off on right but turn back left and cross the highway. Take your first right by the Basketball Practice Facility on Hill Drive. You will see the football stadium straight ahead. Go to dead end at All American Drive turn right and go past N end of stadium. You will run into the Grove. Go to the left on University Ave. and you will go past the Grove on your right and run into the Circle. Go around the circle and you will see The Lyseum which is the oldest building on campus. The James Meredith riot started in the Circle. There's a monument of him behind the Lyseum. The street you came in on at The Grove is University Ave. Take it back E all the way to Lamar. Take a right on Lamar and go about 6 blocks and take a right on Old Taylor. Go about 3 blocks and you run dead into Faulkner's home. You can drive up the gravel road in front and park and go in and visit. Go back to Lamar and go N past University Ave. two blocks and park. You are now on The Square. The building on your left is Square Books which is very famous. John Grisham has a home in Oxford. You passed it on the right just before you got to town. It sits off to the right on a hill and it's easy to see. It's just before the car dealership before you get to the first red light. He's a frequent visitor to Oxford.

      Park and walk around the Square. City Grocery is two doors down W of Square Books. Neilson's to your right on the Square is a nice department store. If you walk past City Grocery on the left you will see Waltz Restaurant after you pass the Pizza joint. Going around the Square you will find Ajax which is a good country food joint. There are a couple of nice ladie's shops on that side of the Square. Downtown Grill is on N side of Square. They have a nice bar upstairs. There's a Rebel junk store around on the N side if you want to buy a Rebel souvenir to take home. Go N on Lamar and Lenora's is on the left. Have dinner at City Grocery. CG has a nice bar upstairs and you can sit outside if you like.

      City Grocery @ 152 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS. 662 - 232 - 8080

      You will find some outstanding casual local dining in Greenwood at Lusco's, Crystal Grill and Giardinia's. Giardinia's is in The Alluvian Hotel. The Crystal has good plate lunches, seafood and steaks. Giardinia's and Lusco's both have outstanding seafood and steaks. Lusco's is old style in a fairly rough neighborhood but safe with lots of history and famous names that have been there. Everyone dines in a booth with a curtain same as Giardinia's.

      Crystal Grill @ 423 Carrollton Ave.,Greenwood, MS 662 - 453 - 6530.

      Giardinia's @ 314 Howard St., Greenwood, MS 662 - 455 - 4227.

      Lusco's @ 722 Carrollton Ave., Greenwood, MS 662 - 453 - 5365.

      Stop in Greenville, MS on your way back to Greenwood from Clarksdale for dinner at Doe's Eat Place. Greenville, MS is W of Greenwood, MS on Highway 82. Doe's Eat Place is not to be missed. You enter the restaurant through the kitchen where you can watch the steaks being prepared. In the center of the main dining room there are stoves at which the fries are made and salads are prepared there as well. In most cases, one steak there easily feeds two.

      Doe's Eat Place @ 502 Nelson Street, Greenville, MS 662 - 334 - 3315.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Littleman

        Thanks to you both!

        I get that you love Oxford and a trip is in the work for a future visit but this is Thursday night (late) until Sunday AM for the juke joint festival. I will have plenty of time in Clarksdale.

        I can't wait to try Hicks' and Kim's - love me some cracklins. Are they flavored cracklins (ie barbecue-spiced) or do you just mean chicken vs pork?

        1. re: Dax

          Re: Kim's -- both pork and chicken cracklins come in "regular" and "bbq" flavor.

          1. re: deepfriedkudzu

            They sometimes also have salt-and-vinegar, my personal favorite.

      2. Many, Many years ago there was a place north of town....The Ranchero I think.....Friendly folks and pretty good food too! ~~ Not sure if it's even still there....Anybody know?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Uncle Bob

          The Ranch is going strong.

          On your way N stop at The Ranchero and get a cold drink. Charlie Conerly who was a famous QB for the NY Giants lived in Clarksdale and there are all kinds of old sports photo's there of Conerly and some of his old buddies. It's a fun place and the food is outstanding.

        2. Hi, Dax. The Juke Joint Festival is usually a lot of fun, and there are some pretty good food options in town, but, I have to say, most places around here are pretty hit-or-miss.

          Abe's is, IMO, good for barbecue and tamales and burgers. Go when they're busy to ensure everything's fresh. By the way, right there in the same parking lot with Abe's is Delta Donuts, which are grrrreat, if you like that sort of hot fresh sweet crispy gooey thing in the morning.

          The Ranch is the favorite spot of most of my elderly relatives, and there are lots of nice pictures - my dad and several uncles are up there, but, I personally have never found anything to recommend there. Nothing. Well, they do have nice crunchy ice, so there's that.

          The Resthaven is good for breakfast and lunch. I love their kibbie.

          Hicks' tamales are good, too.
          I have lunch at Ground Zero a few times a month, and it's great for that, but I avoid it like the plague at festival time, just too many people there.

          Madidi I have always enjoyed, and sometimes it's really spectacular. The menu changes often, and it just "depends" on if you happen to like what they're doing at the time.

          Lady at the Levee is good for lunch and dinner, but often slow, and has a pretty limited menu. If they have fried chicken, get the dark meat and you'll not be sorry.

          Rust and Stone Pony are usually good, but when crowded, expect to wait a long while for food. Really uneven service, mostly from high school and college students. Cheerful, but pretty spacy.

          Uncle Henry's is ok, but it's quite a drive out there. IMO, not really worth that trip.

          Lots of convenience stores/gas stations also serve hot food, and some are quite good. Ask anybody local to direct you to one, for fried fish, chicken, gyros, chitlins, breakfast.

          Oh, also, the Dutch Oven is a little lunch place, operated by a traditional Mennonite family, with great breads, sandwiches, soups, and usually a casserole-of-the-day. Great cakes and pies. I buy whole poppyseed chicken casseroles from them to keep in the freezer.

          If I think of other places to recommend, I'll add on here, and I do hope you have a great time here in the Delta, and please do post after you're home to say how it went.

          Ground Zero
          2230 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

          Dutch Oven
          712 Memorial Pkwy NW, Aliceville, AL 35442

          1 Reply
          1. Just wanted to second DFK's opinion of Abe's - totally not worth the trip. I know it has been there forever-but there's nothing special about it. Now I do disagree about Ground Zero - it was an experience!! The night we were there the music was great and lunch/snack food was good. (and lest you think that this is crazy youth talking - our party of three consisted of all 60-something woment!) The menu at Madidi didn't inspire us - so we didn't try it. We spent one night at the Aluvian in Greenwood - I would recommend. The night in Clarksdale was spent in one of the apartments above Ground Zero and though you wouldn't describe them as luxurious, they've got great old refinished wood floors, plenty of space, clean and working kitchens and bath. The night we were there the music ended at 11 - so that part was OK too.