This is a roadside stand that beckons you to stop. There are surprisingly few along the Blues Highway (HWY-61), and this is one of the most inviting anywhere. Amidst a backdrop of Mississippi deep-fried food, it feels like an oasis of fresh produce. At the entrance is a wall of refrigerators filled with smoothies made from fresh fruit. Past the fruit stand is the cafe, which is even more colorful.
The Tomato Place bases much of it cooks on thick slices of beefsteak tomato. An entire section of the menu is devoted to different variations on the B.L.T. The classic B.L.T. is made extraordinary with that thick meaty slice of peeled tomato. On an over-the-top, Fried Green Tomato B.L.T. with avocado, the thick slice of soft, ripe tomato and mashed avocado contrasts with the crunch of the fried green tomato and bacon. It’s a lot of flavor barely contained between small slices of buttery white toast. Crucially, there is still a thick slice of red tomato to go along with the green, so you get plenty of tomato juice in each bite.
If you’re long on the road and far between meals, try the Tomato Pie. A few thick slices of beefsteak tomato act as the crust (and sauce) for a gooey topping of melted cheese, pepperoni and sausage. The steaming plate is finished with fried okra and garnished with garlic bread. You could eat it as a dip of sorts with the bread, but the meaty tomatoes make a fairly effective crust if you attempt to make a knife and fork project out of it. Either way, the tomatoes absorb a lot of flavor (and grease) from the fondue topping.
The Tomato Place is a roadside attraction as much as a sandwich shop. It’s whimsically painted and overgrown with plants. Shelves are full of jams and sauces packed in mason jars and recycled coke bottles. For the road-snacker with places to be, The Tomato Place is at least good for a quick stop and gawk, and a sack of salty, hot boiled peanuts to-go.