Delta Tamales

8 STOPS | 179 MILES | 3 hr 45 min
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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 dish their own unique twist. Some accounts hearken back to a visiting cook from the Texas-Mexico border who instilled the passion in local eaters. Pat Davis, grandson of the founder of Abe’s Bar-B-Q in Clarksdale, Mississippi, told us, “No doubt granddaddy got it from someone in town,” reminding us that Abe had come to the U.S. from Lebanon, where tamales aren’t a big part of the culinary mix. Why Abe thought they would sell well in his pork parlor is a head-scratcher. “There were no Mexican restaurants here then,” Pat says. “And as far as I know, not many Mexicans.” Even tamale cooks who have no idea why they are the area’s signature dish agree that hot tamales are a tradition that stretches back in time as far as the blues.

1

Rhoda’s Famous Tamales

Blue-ribbon beef & chicken tamales emanate irresistibly appetizing aroma. No wonder Rhoda's is the pride of Lake Village.

2

Doe’s Eat Place

Doe's is a funky backroom restaurant in the Mississippi Delta that serves four-star steaks accompanied by skillet-cooked French fries and/or hot tamales.

3

Crystal Grill

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

4

Giardina’s

Giardina's is a colorful Mississippi Delta restaurant specializing in great steaks, broiled pompano and meals that reflect Greenwood's Italian heritage.

5

White Front Café

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

Must Eats
6

Hicks’

Hicks' tamales pack a hard pepper kick. The Clarksdale landmark also has a full menu of ribs, rib tips, and chopped pork shoulder cooked over hickory.

Must Eats
7

Abe’s

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.

8

Ground Zero Blues Club

Ground Zero is a colorful restaurant / blues club named to signify the blues-lore belief that Clarksdale, Mississippi, is where the blues began.