arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes

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.

ORAL HISTORY

E. W. Mayo


Mayo's Fried Pies and Mahalia Jackson's Chicken

E. W. Mayo built Mayo’s Fried Pies and Mahalia Jackson’s Chicken as a culinary tribute to his favorite singer, and he’s been serving chicken livers and fried pies six days a week ever since. His headquarters on Buchanen Street in North Nashville boasts a large kitchen, but customer space is limited to a small foyer. Guests must lean over the counter and shout through the glass window to place an order, and payment must be thrust with enough momentum that it can slide about a foot along the counter to reach the register. On a busy day the line spills through the doorway, so that customers can read the outside banner advertising outlet opportunities (not franchises) for qualified buyers. The menu boasts a variety of foods, and best among the bunch is the wide selection of fried items—chicken livers, gizzards, tripe—but sweetest of all is the fried pie. Customers may choose between sweet potato, peach, or apple varieties for just $1.10, plus tax. After just one bite you might be tempted to consider the outlet opportunity advertised on the banner out front.

Date of interview:
2006-03-15 00:00

Interviewer:
Mary Beth Lasseter

Photographer:
Mary Beth Lasseter

Download Transcript

Other Project Interviews

WORKING TOGETHER

WE CAN CULTIVATE PROGRESS.

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.

BECOME A MEMBER TODAY

Bill Smith Crooks Corner

Let’s Stay in Touch


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