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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: Hot Tamale Trail


Mark Azlin

The Bourbon Mall has catered to the citizens of Washington County for decades. It’s been a general store since the 1920s. Mark Azlin bought the place in 1998 and turned it into a restaurant. Surrounded by cotton fields, it is a remote destination. Offering a porterhouses and live Blues in amid pleasantly ramshackle surroundings, The Bourbon Mall is a favorite haunt for many. But it’s the hot tamales the really set the place apart. Mark put hot tamales on the menu as a nod to his Delta roots. As a kid he remembers his father buying hot tamales from Miss Etta, up the road in Leland. But an experiment in the Bourbon Mall’s kitchen led to hot tamales landing in the fryer. Mark claims that The Bourbon Mall put fried tamales on the Delta map. He serves them with a side of ranch dressing for dipping, and the affable bartender will hand you a roll of Tums for dessert.

The Bourbon Mall experienced a fire in October 2009. It has not re-opened, but the fried tamales live on at the Ground Zero Blues Club.

Date of interview:
2005-06-29 00:00

Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans

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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.


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