Bill’s Greek Tavern | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Jackson’s Iconic Restaurants


Bill’s Greek Tavern

After serving as a cook in the Greek Navy, Bill Matheos immigrated to the United States in 1968. After a decade of living in the States and operating a burger joint, Bill added recipes from his home island of Thasos. They didn’t take right away, but, soon enough, orders for the house specialty — fresh seafood, coated in flour and Greek spice, and griddled in olive oil — eventually found an audience. Bill’s most famous regular was his close friend, the writer Eudora Welty, who was fond of calling Bill’s Greek Tavern the best restaurant in the world.

At the time of the interview, a seventy-nine years old Bill still stood at his grill for eleven lunch and dinner shifts each week, frying fish, sing-shouting Greek and American folk and pop songs, and greeting each customer with a ringing, “God Bless America! Opa!”

Date of interview:

Rien Fertel

Rien Fertel

Download Transcript

Other Project Interviews



The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

Let’s Stay in Touch

Sign up for the SFA newsletter to have the latest content
delivered directly to your inbox.