The Hollywood Café
1585 Old Commerce Rd
Robinsonville, MS 38664
N 40° 42′ 46.021”
W 74° 0′ 21.388”
I have a near incapacitating aversion to hype. If the hype that I hear about something overshadows the thing itself before I get to experience it for myself then I will never be able to enjoy it, especially if it seems like the hype has turned it into a plastic imitation of its former self. This is why I’ve never been a fan of the Beatles or Bob Dylan. This has become a major concern in my meager travels as I’ve been burned by the cult of travel TV and what it can do to the places it features (Big Bob Gibson’s, I’m looking at you).
I was therefore pretty leery of The Hollywood Café when I was planning my Highway 61 adventure, because I’ve been hearing about them on assorted food and travel shows for years. They’re famous for inventing the fried dill pickle (though some claim they were invented in Arkansas in 1963) and have been name dropped in bits of pop culture like Marc Cohen’s “Walking in Memphis” and John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. It has arguably become pop culture itself. Even still, my undying love of fried dill pickles wouldn’t let me miss out on a visit when I was already passing within just a couple miles of it, even if there was a chance of finding a southern fried version of Planet Hollywood crammed into the tiny former commissary that once hosted legends like Son House.
I quickly learned there was no reason for my concern, even if they did have tee shirts and stickers for sale.
At 2:00 pm on a Friday afternoon it was blissfully not packed with tourists. Instead, the BFF and I were the only people in the narrow former commissary on a residential road near the Tunica casinos. Even though we’d eaten a giant meal of BBQ just a couple hours earlier we gorged on fried dill pickles, fried green tomatoes, and the BFF had fried catfish (I don’t eat fish). Those were without a question the best fried dill pickles I’ve ever had in my life. And I’ve had boat loads of fried dill pickles, 4 times just on this 5 day trip. The fried green tomatoes, were good, but the pickles were the main attraction.
This was also where I found the best sweet tea of the trip. Growing up in South Georgia I learned to drink sweet tea like most people drink water, but I’m incredibly picky about it, so I don’t drink it very often. I refuse to drink bottled tea and it can’t be too sweet, probably thanks to the Chicago side of my family. Based on my limited experience Mississippi style sweet tea doesn’t seem to be as sweet at Georgia “Sugar Tea,” and I would happily drink my weight in it.
The stop at the Hollywood wasn’t exclusively for food. It’s also on the Mississippi Blues Trail, which was the real reason for the whole trip.