Barbeque, pie, and tamales in the Mississippi Delta – Part 3

Hot Tamales in Greenville, Mississippi

After feasting on country cooking for lunch and James Beard Award winning barbeque for dinner with coconut pecan pie for desert on Monday, hot tamales were in our future for Tuesday.

We broke camp in Marianna, Arkansas and pulled the fifth wheel about 130 miles south to Lake Village, Arkansas where we set up camp at Lake Chicot State Park before getting back in the truck to drive across the Mississippi River into Greenville, Mississippi. Our destination was Doe’s Eat Place, another restaurant featured in Alton Brown’s “Feasting on Asphalt the River Run.”

Doe's Eat Place, Greenville, MS
Doe’s Eat Place, Greenville, MS

We were greeted by one of the employees as we entered the front room which was once was a honky tonk.  She told us a little about the restaurant and invited us to look around. After placing our order of 3 dozen hot tamales to go, we wandered through the 3 dining rooms. The lunch rush was over and the employees were busy getting ready for the dinner crowd. We were the only customers. A large gas range is the focal point in the main dining room. Photos and other memorabilia covered the walls.

Doe’s Eat Place has a very interesting history that goes all the way back to 1903 when Doe’s father moved to Greenville and opened a grocery store where the the restaurant is today. The building has been a grocery store, honky tonk, and now a restaurant.

In addition to tamales, Doe’s is famous for their Porterhouse Steaks. Doe’s won the James Beard American Classics Award in 2007 and their food has been recognized by publications such as Southern Living, Men’s Journal, and Bon Appetit.

The 3 dozen tamales to go are served in a large food container about the size of a 2 pound coffee can. The tamales are hand wrapped and tied into bundles of 3. The beef tamales are cooked in a delicious sauce that has just the right amount of heat. We enjoyed some for dinner and brought the rest back in our freezer.

Tamales are hand wrapped and tied in bundles of three
Tamales are hand wrapped and tied in bundles of three

Before our visit to the Mississippi Delta, we have probably never eaten in a James Beard Award winning restaurant. Now, in 2 days, we have enjoyed food from 2 award winners!

Doe’s Eat Place, 502 Nelson St., Greenville, Mississippi, owners Charles Signa, Jr and Doe Signa, III (grandsons of the original Doe).

We stayed at Lake Chicot State Park in Lake Village, Arkansas when we visited Doe’s Eat Place.



Barbeque, pie, and tamales in the Mississippi Delta – Part 2

Homemade Pie

Inspired by the book and tv series “Feasting on Asphalt The River Run” by one of my favorite Food Network Stars Alton Brown (who just happens to live in Georgia) we decided to spend a few days in the Mississippi Delta on our way home from Little Rock. The book and tv series chronicle the journey he and his crew took on motorcycles on the Great River Road from the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana to the headwaters at Itasca State Park, Minnesota.

Pie was on our mind as we set out on a day trip to Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. Coconut pecan pie to be exact.

Ray's Dairy Maid in Barton, Arkansas was featured on "Feasting on Asphalt"
Ray’s Dairy Maid in Barton, Arkansas was featured on “Feasting on Asphalt”

Our goal was to visit two places featured in “Feasting on Asphalt”: the Delta Cultural Center (it was closed) and to try a  piece of coconut pecan pie at Ray’s Dairy Maid. Just thinking about a pie with coconut AND pecans made my mouth water.

We were probably the only non-locals stopping here for lunch. As we glanced around the small dining room trying to find an empty table, a couple sitting at a large table invited us to sit with them.

They were a delightful couple from Helena. He is a retired banker and his wife Dolly is a hairdresser. She still does hair at the salon she has owned for over 50 years. They had just left the nursing home where she goes every Monday to fix hair for the residents there. They were regulars at the restaurant and seemed to know everyone.

Photo of Alton Brown at Ray's Dairy Maid
Photo of Alton Brown at Ray’s Dairy Maid

Ray’s Dairy Maid serves hand made hamburgers, plate lunches, and is famous for it’s homemade pies. We didn’t get to meet the owner Deane Cavette (also known as Nana Deane) who was out of town.

Every weekday they offer a different plate lunch special. Monday was meatloaf with 2 sides. Sounded great but I went for the country fried steak with fried okra. Good old home cooking at it’s best. Add good conversation to the good food and it was a lunch to remember.

Dolly pointed out a meringue pie with the meringue piled several inches high. It looked delicious but we had been thinking about the coconut pecan pie too long to try anything else. After getting directions on how to get back on the road to the campground we got two pieces to go and were on our way.

We had the pie for desert that night after our unbelievably delicious dinner of pulled pork from Jones Bar-B-Q Diner. The pie was even better than I imagined and was worth going out of the way for. Pecan pie is my favorite pie in the world and the addition of the coconut just put it over the top. It was a perfect way to end the day.

I can’t remember a time when I’ve had two such delicious and memorable meals in one day.

Ray’s Dairy Maid, Hwy. 49, Barton, Arkansas is owned by Deane Cavette.

We were camped at Mississippi River State Park near Marianna when we ate at Ray’s Dairy Maid.