Ground Zero Blues Club

Bar-b-q | Meat-and-Three | Smoke House | Soul Food | Tavern
Worth a detour

This colorful restaurant / blues club was named to signify the blues-lore belief that Clarksdale, Mississippi, is where the blues began. It is ground zero for the music of which Muddy Waters sang, “The blues had a baby and they called it Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

In addition to being home of so many of the masters of blues music, this part of Mississippi is also where actor Morgan Freeman comes from; and several years ago Freeman decided that he wanted a good place to eat when he was back home away from Hollywood. With a couple of local partners, he opened Ground Zero, which is a gigantic juke-joint / eat-place across the road from the town’s estimable Blues Museum.

With pool tables up front, exposed brick walls and rough wood floors, Ground Zero is a venue for listening to live music and drinking beer by the quart at night, as well as an opportunity to eat well-made plate lunch every day. It’s a meat-and-three menu, with a daily choices from a couple of entrees (i.e. baked chicken, pork chops) and a handful of vegetables (mashed potatoes, mac ‘n’ cheese, greens) with cornbread on the side. There are always hamburgers and catfish sandwiches, as well as platters of such locally favored snacks as hot tamales and fried grits.

If beer is not your beverage, remember that this is the south; ergo, good ice tea is always available.

What to Eat
Ground Zero Blues Club, Fried Green Tomato Sandwich
Fried Green Tomato Sandwich
We like fried green tomatoes almost any which way, but these didn't have the good crunch that makes them so especially savory.
Ground Zero Blues Club, hot tamales
hot tamales
Tamales are a favorite snack throughout the Mississippi Delta. The staff at Ground Zero told us that these spicy filled corn husks are bought from an expert tamale-maker some sixty miles away.
Ground Zero Blues Club, Fried Hot Tamales
Fried Hot Tamales
A strange hors d'oeuvre: deep-fried pieces of hot tamale. There's a lot of pleasant crunch to the dish, but not so much flavor.
Ground Zero Blues Club, Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken
Every day at noon, Ground Zero has two hot dishes in addition to the regular menu. The day we visited the choice was fried chicken or veal parmesan. This is the former.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Monday11 am - 2 pm
Tuesday11 am - 2 pm
Wednesday11 am - 11 pm
Thursday11 am - 11 pm
Friday11 am - 2 am
Saturday11 am - 2 am
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
9 stops | 192 MILES | 3 hr 49 min

The magic of Highway 61 from Graceland down deep into the Mississippi Delta, through cotton fields and past speck-on-the-map small towns, is all about the blues. You might be singing them if you walk away from the casinos of Tunica with empty pockets, and you can hear them sung by the masters in juke joints…

5 stops | 196 MILES | 3 hr 56 min

It's a Roadfood thrill to find a memorable meal in a place that looks like an irredeemable dive. No state has so many such treasures as Mississippi, where some of the very best food is served in restaurants with well-aged, tumbledown ambience. The destinations on this tour scrupulously maintain their divey looks, but what's on…

8 stops | 179 MILES | 3 hr 45 min

From the street corners of Memphis through the Mississippi Delta, tamales are sold in eateries of every kind. There is no clear explanation for the ubiquity of a Mexican dish in the deep Southeast other than the surmise that workers from Mexico who came to pick cotton inspired African-Americans to give the pork and corn…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • White Front Café

    Rosedale, Mississippi

    Tamales are at their best at the White Front Cafe, a Mississippi Delta destination where they’re the only thing on the menu.

  • Abe’s

    Clarksdale, Mississippi

    At the famous Clarksdale crossroads of Highways 61 & 49 in Mississippi blues country, Abe’s serves thin-sliced, crisp-edged barbecued pork and hot tamales.

  • Ramon’s

    Clarksdale, Mississippi

    Far off the beaten path in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Ramon’s is a colorful restaurant serving fine fried shrimp and sensationally luxurious chicken livers.

  • Crystal Grill

    Greenwood, Mississippi

    Cream pies are some of Mississippi’s best at the Crystal Grill, where pre-pie lunch includes classic Dixie vegetables and hot tamales.

  • Bendi’s Diner

    Clarendon, Arkansas

    Good small town dining! Bendi’s serves a fine pork barbecue sandwich with optional slaw. Also on the menu is the unusual buffalo fish ribs.

  • Jones Bar-B-Q Diner

    Marianna, Arkansas

    Jones has a sign in the parking lot that says open since 1964, but owner James Jones told us goes back 150 years. Superb Arkansas BBQ!