Insider's Guide to the Delta

The Mississippi Delta offers the ultimate Southern travel adventure—catfish and fried tamales, juke joints brimming with blues, colorful small towns, and friendly locals who can’t wait to show you a good time.
Valerie Fraser Luesse

Clarksdale

Where to Eat
Abe’s BBQ
616 North State Street
www.abesbbq.com or (662) 624-9947
Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday
Located at The Crossroads (U.S. 61 and U.S. 49).

Chamoun Rest Haven
419 North State Street
(662) 624-8601
Hours: 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday
This old-style diner serves everything from a ham-and-cheese omelet to country-fried steak, but the real draws are the Lebanese specialties.

Hicks' World-Famous Tamales and More
305 South State Street
(662) 624-9887
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday
They say their tamales are “world famous,” which just might be true, judging by the number of celebrities who’ve stopped in or secretly used the convenient drive-thru.

Madidi
164 Delta Avenue
www.madidires.com or (662) 627-7770
Hours: 6 p.m. until close Tuesday-Saturday. The bar opens at 5 p.m. Reservations are strongly suggested.
Don't miss this fine dining establishment in the heart of The Delta.

Where to Visit
The Brick Gallery
226 Delta Avenue
www.thebrickgallery.com or (662) 627-3939
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday or by appointment

Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art
252 Delta Avenue
www.cathead.biz or (662) 624-5992
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Where to Stay
Ground Zero Blues Club & Delta Cotton Co. Apts.
0 Blues Alley (next to Delta Blues Museum)
www.groundzerobluesclub.com
Blues Club: (662) 621-9009
Apt. Reservations: (662) 645-9366
Don’t let the rickety exterior entrance fool you. The apartments above Ground Zero are more like urban lofts than small-town apartments. They’re fully furnished, with kitchens, coffeemakers, and linens. Rooms do not have phones, and don’t expect a giant flatscreen TV either. But you come here for live blues, not reruns. There’s an interior entrance from the club to the stairway leading up to the apartments, so you don’t even have to go outside when the show’s over. Note: The stairs to the apartments are steep, and because this is a converted warehouse, there’s no elevator.

Shack Up Inn
Rates: $60-$75 weeknights; $10 surcharge on weekend nights; additional costs for festivals, holidays, and certain weekends
Hopson Plantation, off U.S. 49
001 Commissary Circle
www.shackupinn.com or (662) 624-8329
These converted sharecropper shacks are perfect for the more bohemian/adventurous traveler who can do without the usual amenities. Visit the Web site for directions.

Where to Shop
Mag-Pie Gift & Art Shop
253 Delta Avenue
www.magpiegiftshop.com or (662) 624-8385
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

Miss Del’s General Store
145 Delta Avenue
www.missdels.com or (662) 624-2381
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday

TwoTwoFive Delta
225 Delta Avenue
(662) 627-1154
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Cleveland Area

Where to Eat
Airport Grocery (known for barbecue and hot tamales)
3442 State 8 West
Cleveland
(662) 843-4817
Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 5-9:30 p.m. Sunday
Reservations are accepted, but are usually not needed except on weekends.

Delta Fast Foods
701 South Davis Avenue
Cleveland
(662) 846-8800
Hours: 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday
You’ll know you’ve arrived at this humble convenience store/restaurant when you see the “Shuck Lickin’ Good” sign. Stop by for lunch or dinner, or grab some tamales to go.

KC’s Restaurant
400 U.S. 61 North
Cleveland
(662) 843-5301
Hours: lunch 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, dinner 5:30-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Reservations are needed for parties of six or more.
Here’s the spot for fine dining in a small town. They offer a great wine selection and fresh daily specials.

McCartys Gallery Restaurant
100 Sunflower Street
Merigold
(662) 748-2754
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and by reservation for private parties and special events. Reservations are suggested.

Where to Visit
The Delta Center for Culture and Learning
Delta State University
State 8 West
Ewing Hall, Room 130
Cleveland
www.blueshighway.org or (662) 846-4312
Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday or by appointment

Where to Stay
Hampton Inn Cleveland
Rates: $109; increasing in May
912 North Davis Avenue (same as U.S. 61)
www.hamptoninn.com, www.hilton.com, or (662) 846-2915

Where to Shop
McCartys Pottery
101 St. Mary Street
Merigold
www.mccartyspottery.com or (662) 748-2293
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
Visit Web site for directions.

Peter’s Pottery
301 Fortune Avenue
Mound Bayou
www.peters-pottery.net or (662) 741-2283
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday.
Get directions (you’ll need them) from their Web site.

Rosedale

Where to Eat
White Front Cafe
902 Main Street
(662) 759-3842
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Where to Visit
Great River Road State Park
101 State Park Road
http://home.mdwfp.com/parks.aspx or (662) 759-6762
Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Greenville and Leland Area

Where to Eat
The Bourbon Mall
105 Dean Road
Bourbon, MS
(662) 686-4389
Hours: 6-around 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 6-around 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Nothing like being ferried through The Delta in a stretch limo with strobe lights. Since The Bourbon Mall is a bit out of the way for many folks, they have partnered with T&A Limousine Service, which will pick you up from anywhere in The Delta and take you back home when you’re ready to go. Your limo bill goes right on your restaurant tab. It's not cheap for a couple but a good deal if you have a group to split the cost.

T&A Limousine Service (to The Bourbon Mall)
www.tandalimousine.com
(662) 820-1573
See Web site for rates.

Cicero’s
4857 Old Leland Road
Stoneville
(662) 686-7000
Hours: lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, dinner 5-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Connie’s Kitchen
111 U.S. 82 East
Leland
(662) 686-2255
Hours: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 5-8:30 p.m. Friday night catfish, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday

Doe's Eat Place
502 Nelson Street
Greenville
www.doeseatplace.com or (662) 334-3315
Hours: 5:30 p.m. until closing Monday-Saturday. Reservations are accepted.

Fratesi Grocery & Deli & Service Station
1402 U.S. 82 East
Leland
(662) 686-2253
Hours: 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday
If you’re coming from Greenwood on U.S. 82 West and make it all the way to Leland, you’ve come too far--Fratesi’s is on the right before you get to Leland. It’s a Citgo station with an outstanding deli counter inside. And around 5 p.m., the rear parking lot becomes a favorite watering hole where locals gather to shoot the breeze.

LakeShore Cafe
4431 U.S. 82 East
Lake Village, AR
(4 miles from the old Mississippi River Bridge at Greenville)
www.lakeshorecafe.com or (870) 265-0027
Hours: lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday-Friday; dinner 5-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Reservations are preferred, especially on weekends.
Yes, the Mississippi River Bridge at Greenville (circa 1940) is a scary structure to drive over. I can’t wait for the new one to open. However, if you can steel yourself to make it over the river into Arkansas, you’re just a short hop from the LakeShore Cafe. This terrific restaurant serves typical Delta fare: steaks, seafood, and lots of tasty fried stuff in a casual atmosphere with a friendly staff.

Lillo’s
1001 U.S. 82 East
Leland
(662) 686-4401
Hours: 4:30-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday
This Leland landmark consistently delivers great Italian food.

Where to Shop
McCormick Book Inn
825 South Main Street
Greenville
www.mccormickbookinn.com or (662) 332-5038
Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday
Out-of-towners might find it tricky to locate this terrific independent bookstore. Just remember that it’s on south Main, which is on the opposite side of U.S. 82 from Main Street--so if you find yourself a stone’s throw from the levee, you went the wrong way. McCormick’s stocks a wonderful collection of books about Mississippi--particularly The Delta--as well as works by Mississippi authors. There’s also a good children’s collection. Don’t miss the back room, which houses an intriguing Greenville/Delta archive.

Red Leaf Pottery
1455 Old Highway 61
Arcola
www.redleafpottery.com or (662) 827-2020
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

Greenwood

Where to Eat
Blue Parrot Café & Veronica’s Custom Bakery
222 Howard Street
www.threedeuces.net Bakery: (662) 451-9425
Hours: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Cafe: (662) 451-9430
Hours: 6-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
The cafe features Latin cuisine. The bakery offers cakes and cookies as well as soups, salads, sandwiches, and daily specials.

Crystal Grill
423 Carrollton Avenue
(662) 453-6530
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
This down-home restaurant is a short drive from Howard Street, where most of Greenwood’s tourist attractions are located. It’s packed at lunchtime, and for a good reason. Delicious comfort food at a good price.

Giardina’s (adjacent to The Alluvian)
(662) 455-4227
Hours: 5-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 5-8 p.m. Sunday
Reservations recommended

Mockingbird Bakery
325-B Howard Street
(662) 453-9927
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Where to Stay
The Alluvian Hotel
Rates range $195-$330
318 Howard Street
Greenwood, MS
www.thealluvian.com, 1-866-600-5201, or (662) 453-2114

Where to Shop
Fincher’s Inc
301 Howard Street
(662) 453-6246
Hours: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Stop in for housewares and gifts.

The Melon Patch
307 Howard Street
(662) 453-8951
Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday

The Mississippi Gift Company
300 Howard Street
www.themississippigiftcompany.com, (662) 455-6961, or 1-800-467-7763
Hours: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
If you’re within 20 miles of Greenwood, you need to detour to this place. It’s fabulous–and don’t forget to go upstairs. Beautiful paintings, pottery and other fine (but mostly affordable) crafts by Mississippi artists; bottle trees; homemade gourmet foods and gift baskets. This is the place for unique gifts, and they have a bridal registry.

Russell’s Antiques & Fine Jewelry
313 Howard Street
www.russellantiq.com or (662) 453-4017
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Some of the best silver and antique jewelry around.

Smith & Company
211 Fulton Street
(662) 453-4411
Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
An only-in-The-Delta combo of sporting goods, hunting gear, and men's and women's fashions.

TurnRow Book Co.
304 Howard Street
www.turnrowbooks.com or (662) 453-5995
Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Viking Cooking School and Retail Store
Elizabeth Burgess, general manager
325-C Howard Street
www.vikingcookingschool.com or (662) 451-6750
Retail store hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
If you have even a passing interest in cooking, you must come to the Viking Cooking School and Retail Store across the street from The Alluvian. The spatula selection alone is worth the stop. And who knew you could buy a pink colander?