Bully’s Restaurant opened its doors on Livingston Avenue in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1982. This beloved soul food kitchen was built by Tyrone Bully and his father, both former masons. The family had long owned a corner store in the neighborhood when the senior Mr. Bully suggested opening a restaurant to serve hot food. Factory workers across the street guaranteed a steady clientele.
Originally planned as short-order lunch spot, the restaurant quickly transformed itself into a dine-in soul food establishment and a full menu with daily specials. Ma Pearl, a neighbor and the restaurant’s first cook, worked in the kitchen for over 18 years. She taught Tyrone Bully all of her recipes, insisting that he follow them exactly. The menu advertises chitterlings, oxtails, neckbones, turkey wings, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, rice and gravy, tomatoes and okra, yams, and greens—collards, turnips, and mustards.
Tyrone Bully arrives every morning at 6:00 a.m. and stays until he locks the doors at night. His staff shares his work ethic and commitment to customers. Staff members shout greetings when regulars walk through the door. There is very little employee turnover. Jacqueline Tard has worked as a prep cook and waitress at Bully’s since the 1980s.
Bully’s doors open 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and the parking lot stays full until Tyrone Bully locks up at 6:30 each night. The clientele is varied. There are long-time members of the neighborhood who are regulars and eat at Bully’s several times a month. Nearby city employees and construction workers stop by for to-go orders. Jackson police officers and Hinds County deputies are familiar guests, as are city council members and state legislators. Freedom Riders visited when they marked the fiftieth anniversary of their efforts. Bully’s serves the musicians who record at nearby Malaco Records. Collected here are stories from customers, family members, and longtime employees. This is Bully’s Restaurant.