The Crossroads in Clarksdale
This modern landmark shows the original crossroads of Highway 49 and Highway 61. Legend tells us that Delta blues king, Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at this intersection... and The Blues was born!
Food at the Crossroads
Since we were spending the night in Clarksdale, in the birthplace of Delta Blues history, it seemed like barbeque would be a good pick for dinner.
Our host at the Shack Up Inn (we slept in a shack that was once a sharecropper's home on the Hopson Plantation) recommended Abe's Bar-B-Q. We figured it must be good since it's been serving barbeque since Abe first started the business in 1924.
A New Building
Abe's moved to this location at the crossroads in 1950. It's possible Abe's has had a little bit of a facelift since the day it opened...but not much.
I wasn't surprised that we would find some outstanding barbeque in this tiny Delta town. What did surprise me was the history of Abe himself. Abe was not from Mississippi at all. He immigrated to the US from Lebanon as a young man. I wonder how difficult it may have been for a Lebanese man to fit into a small southern town in the 1920's.
I heard that Abe's family still owns the restaurant, but you can't always assume you'll get to meet some family. So I was pretty thrilled when I met Cousin Jack, behind the counter. He was friendly and answered a few questions, but there were other customers in need. I wish I could have heard some stories about Abe back in the day. I'm sure the family has some to tell.
Chips with Barbecue Sauce
The place was pretty quiet when we first sat down. We sat in the middle room and before long the room was filled with locals. I noticed one family digging into a special treat while they waited for their order. Each family member ripped open a bag of Block and Barrel rippled potato chips, spreading the bag open like a plate. Then they squirted the homemade barbeque sauce over the top and dug in. This routine seemed to be happening at more than 1 table. Next time, I'm having some Block and Barrel chip!
Love a Cluttered Wall
I always love photos and clippings and Abe's has a lot. Not only are these clippings framed on the wall, but under the table glass as well. I also love the silly pig photos and crooked lamps and 45 records tucked here and there. Restaurant chains like Cracker Barrel have tried to copy this cluttered wall look. But I prefer the real thing!
There's quite a history to Abe's meat. He was known for his slicing technique, even with pulled pork. The pork is chopped not pulled and his knife skills have never been duplicated. He could slice meat so thin you could see through it. The initial cooking technique is unique, as well as the re-grilling done before serving.
Delta Donuts shares the parking lot. Too bad it wasn't open or we could have grabbed a few dessert donuts to go. However, we did get to sample some. When we checked out of the Shack Up in the morning, Delta Donuts was making a delivery. Some hotels have continental breakfast, but the Shack up Inn serves coffee and complimentary Delta Donuts. So good for you!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.