on Tuesday, June 20, 2017
“Muriel plays piano every Friday at the Hollywood.” I’ve heard the lyrics more times than I can count, but I never knew much about the place Marc Cohn oh so famously refers to in his 1991 hit song, “Walking in Memphis.”
Head down Casino Strip Boulevard, take a turn down Old Commerce Square and you’ll see the smoke billowing out of a small, 1920s commissary.
Comfortably nestled away from the shadows of flashing casino lights, The Hollywood Cafe is one of Tunica’s hidden culinary treasures. If you blink, you might miss it. But believe me; you don’t want to do that.
When you enter the cafe, it’s overwhelmingly apparent you’re in the Mississippi Delta. The scent of fried catfish, fried green tomatoes and the cafe’s famous fried dill pickles fills the air. In case you couldn’t tell, fried food is their specialty, but they also offer vegetable plates, cheeseburgers and desserts.
Another theme of the famous little restaurant is music. A rickety piano greets you near the front door. A fully stocked bar lingers to the right. Photos of blues musicians rest atop the tables and grace the walls.
Opened in the 1960s, The Hollywood Cafe is the perfect combination of soul and Southern charm. Sure, it’s a dive, but appealingly so. The staff is warm, welcoming and will make you feel right at home. “Come on in, have a seat. What can I get for you?” That’s how they do it in the Delta.
Marc Cohn wasn’t the only one who appreciated The Hollywood Cafe. Author John Grisham was a regular long before he became famous for his literary work. In fact, he references The Hollywood Cafe more than once in his best seller A Time to Kill. I have to agree that this place is definitely worth a mention.
It may be a tiny place, but it’s got big personality. The Hollywood Cafe is the perfect representation of the Mississippi Delta as a whole: good food, good music and good people. What more could you want?