Bully’s Restaurant

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.


Funding for this project provided by Visit Mississippi.

Interviews

Ballery Tyrone Bully

Ballery Tyrone Bully opened Bully’s Restaurant in 1982, with the help of his father. Now, over 30 years later, he serves some of Jackson’s best soul food to hundreds of customers each day.

Greta Brown Bully

Greta Brown met her future husband when her job required her to pay a visit to Bully’s Restaurant. The year was 1992, a decade after Bully’s Restaurant first opened its doors.

J. B. Mance, customer

J. B. Mance has known Tyrone Bully since he was a small boy. He was friends with Tyrone’s parents, and when he wasn’t out on the road singing with his gospel quartet or playing on the blues circuit, he’d stop by the neighborhood restaurant for a quick meal.

Jacqueline Tard, employee

Jacqueline Tard has worked for the Bully family for over 30 years. She started out with the senior Mr. Bully when he owned a corner market, and when Tyrone Bully opened his restaurant in the same community, she moved over to help him.

Janis Jordan, customer

Janis Jordan is a longtime customer at Bully’s Restaurant. She’s also a musician and performs in the small front room at Bully’s every Friday afternoon.

Rev. Barry Taylor, customer

Reverend Barry Taylor is one of 18 children. His parents worked on a plantation in Belzoni, Mississippi, before moving to Jackson when he was 5 years old. He grew up in the neighborhood where Bully’s Restaurant stands today.