A restaurant is defined by its owner, its employees, and, not insignificantly, its regular clientele. Clarke Reed, former Republican National Committeeman and father of the Southern Strategy, is one of those regulars. He became a customer at Doe’s Eat Place soon after moving from Missouri to Greenville in 1950. In the ensuing years, Reed has entertained family and friends, journalists and politicians, over steaks and fries, tamales and shrimp. When he began eating at Doe’s, he walked through the back door as the rest of white Greenville did. Today, black and white walk through the front door, past the red glow of the broiler, by steaming pots of tamales, into the dining rooms beyond. Reed is one of the regulars who put Doe’s on the map, entertaining visiting journalists who came through Mississippi in the 1960s and 70s. Of course, the food speaks for itself, as does the character of the place—character imbued by regulars like Clarke Reed.
Date of interview:
July 21, 2005