On the road with the lunch bunch

lunch bunch

Like Charles Kuralt, my first Friday lunch bunch took its show on the road today. We ventured deep into the boonies to visit Pap’s Place, a restaurant in Ackerman, Mississippi. Population – about 500 – except during lunch when the body count rises to almost 1,000, all because of Pap’s reputation for the best fried catfish “in these parts.”

“Sir, may I have hush puppies AND cornbread,” I inquired of Pap Smiley who guards the cash register while his wife bustles about wearing a huge catfish head. “Whatever melts your butter, honey.” What a guy. His dark locks were oozing with something that made me suspect he’d dipped his comb into the frying oil.

The food was out of this world, but no road trip would be complete without a cruise through the local shopping outlets. We uncovered a jewel buried in the redhills of Choctaw County. The Tizzy Lizzy – a few doors down from Paps! It offered wares you’d expect to find on Fifth Avenue of New York City. Gaw-lee! We all started our Christmas Shopping.

The trip was such a success we think we might try to hit some other out-of- the-way spots during 2009. Artesia might be a possibility, but about the “onliest” place to eat is the gas station where they slice off a big hunk of rat cheese and give you a handfull of saltines. That might work.


Mrs. Pap, above, served Lulu, Jane and Julia wearing her catfish head. You can’t find that in New York City.

chalie The smarmy Mr. Smiley took a liking to our bunch and even offered to fry up a whole catfish to please our Mama O who had a hankering for a big one. She swears catfish is better served whole rather than the strips.

The caramel cake was served with icing one-half inch thick. Ditto on the chocolate cake. Mama O says it was “from scratch” and she would know.

lulu and Mama O

Mama O

Mama O was overjoyed with her whole fried catfish (left) while the rest of us noshed down crispy fried strips with turnip greens, mac and cheese, and a concoction we decided might have been broccoli casserole though we only found one piece of broccoli in the batch. Don’t want to be too healthy, don’t you know? When we left, Mrs. Pap was already engaged in preparing chicken ‘n dumplins for the evening crowd.

Check out the lovely centerpiece below. Now, tell me we didn’t make a great choice for First Friday Lunch bunch which has yet to actually meet on the first Friday of the month. This is MY Mississippi! I love it so!

red neck restaurant

4 thoughts on “On the road with the lunch bunch

  1. Sent it on to the kids. Drew wrote back immediately saying “what a hoot you must have had”! It was great. I thought of another road trip destination on the way home. Several people have never been to Anthony’s Grocery in West Point. Maybe after the first of the year. I haven’t eaten anything since lunch yesterday and still fill full. Have a great weekend!!! Love ya, Barbara

  2. What – you don’t want to do the Crawford gas station? I thought of another as well – that place in Columbus where the guy serves everything is crockpots. I’ll have to ask Kate for the directions. I also had a fabulous lunch recently in Aberdeen at a little cafe called Penny Lane.

  3. If you love whole Catfish, try Hwy 41 Fish House, between Pontotoc and Oklona. It is open Thur, Fri, Sat and Sun. Whole catfish, hushpuppies, frie/bp and slaw/salad. 10.00 all you can eat or 8.00 (1) catfish. You won’t be disappointed. But if don’t get ther early (4-5:00…or 8:-9:00) you’ll stand in line for 30-1hour. It is out in the middle of nowhere. Now if you want atmosphere, try Algoma, Seafood Junction. Shrimp, fish, oysters, etc…probably 50 items to choose from, and desert bar too. I’ve eaten at Pap’s and I gurantee you’ll enjoy this better.

  4. Why thank you Barb. Algoma sounds like an intriguing place. That will be on our list for 2009. I also just heard today about a gas station in West Point called The Station which does a bang up job of breakfast and lunch. Adding it to the list.
    So is the Hwy 41 fish house not open for lunch?

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