314 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI REST HAVEN RESTAURANT Just down Highway 61 from the famous Crossroads, another restaurant gained fame for equality of service during the Civil Rights Movement. Rest Haven was founded in 1960. Chafik Chamoun, the founder, was a Lebanese immigrant whose menu included Southern, Lebanese, and Italian dishes. The popular restaurant continues to serve homemade food to anyone who walks in the door. PHOTO BY GREG CAMPBELL DELTA GROCERY In response to plantation commissaries shutting down, Chinese immigrants began to open grocery stores throughout the Delta. Workers on the plantations made the grocers prosperous and enabled them to succeed when others could not during the Great Depression. PHOTO COURTESY OF MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY DOE’S EAT PLACE The world-famous Delta restaurant Doe’s Eat Place was established by the Signa family in Greenville in 1941. The origin of Doe’s dates back to much earlier, when Dominick “Big Doe” Signa moved to Greenville in 1903. In the building which now houses the restaurant, Big Doe first opened a grocery store—known in the community as “Papa’s Store”—and lived with his wife and family in a house behind it. Signa’s store proved prosperous until 1927, when the Great Flood struck the Delta region. Left without a business, Big Doe turned to bootlegging to support his family. He later sold the forty barrels in his possession for several hundred dollars and a Model T Ford. In 1941, Signa’s wife, Mamie, discovered a tamale recipe, which she altered to her liking and began selling out of the family building. This is considered the start of the now-popular Doe’s Eat Place. In the early years, Big Doe and Mamie managed a honky-tonk in the front part of the building, strictly serving African American patrons and offering food such as buffalo fish and chili. Known in the community for his delicious steaks, Big Doe began cooking for white doctors and lawyers who visited him in the back of the building. Before long, Big Doe had gained so many customers in the back he decided to close the honky-tonk and officially open a restaurant. Together, Big Doe and Mamie started what was to become a hugely successful eatery. Mamie passed away in 1955, but Big Doe continued running the restaurant until his retirement in 1974, when he turned over the reins to his sons, Charles and Little Doe. Big Doe passed away just over a decade later in 1987. Although time has taken a toll on both the family and their building, the Signas continue to provide an authentic and delicious early twentieth-century Delta dining experience to visitors from all over the country and the world. Now a Southern multi-state franchise, Doe’s Eat Place has locations not only in Mississippi but also in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Kentucky. PHOTO COURTESY OF DELTA MAGAZINE