It takes a diehard Roadfood devotee to drive along Oakhurst Street in Clarksdale, spy Ramon’s, and think, “My, what an excellent-looking place to eat.” It is, to understate the point, a less-than-handsome restaurant far off the beaten path in a residential neighborhood. The savvy tipster who took us there, Roger Stolle, described going to Ramon’s “like eating in a small Florida restaurant from the 1970s … but with serious roof problems.” Roger explained that local lore says Thomas and Barbara Ely, the couple who run it, rent the building for a dollar a month, so there’s no real incentive for them (or the owner) to repair or renovate. Tables are bare, chairs are mismatched. Still, there is some serious effort to make the dump charming: empty fifths of Jack Daniel’s and 3-liter jugs of Taylor Chablis have been made into decorative lamps all around the two dining rooms.
Roger said his favorite thing to eat was a plate of chicken livers and spaghetti, but he also said that any of the fried things on the menu were great. We got a full order of a dozen fried butterflied shrimp, each of which was the size of a moon pie. What a feast! Ramon’s onion rings are big and luscious; and Roger was right: the fried chicken livers are sensational: unspeakably rich, luxuriously crunchy, and filling beyond all measure.