Number 604 N. Farish Street–like other locations in the district–has a storied past. From 1947 until 1961, Shepherd’s Kitchenette was listed in Victor Greeen’s Travel Guide for the African American motorist as located at this address. According to Flucker and Savage (2008), Shepherd’s was originally located above the Crystal Palace. Shepherd’s Kitchenette was known for
…famous oyster loaf, a Jackson version of a New Orleans po’boy.
David Shepherd was reported to be the “best” cook in Jackson (Sweet & Bradley, 2013), and the only one better than the Edward Lee Hotel’s kitchen, run by Allie Lee and her sister.
Stevens Tourist Home and Stevens Bar-be-que were listed in the Green Book for several years, at a location described only as Highway 49 West. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History identifies the building at 604 N. Farish as c. 1930, as only a commercial building with one large and one small commercial space. The cornerstone depicts “Welcome to Stevens” but no date.
Smitty’s Lounge occupied the building in 1979 when the nomination form for the Farish Street Historic District was written. Stevens Kitchen also operated a nightclub called the Rose Room–the walls were papered with a rose design, and it was a popular spot with the locals. Flucker & Savage include historic photographs of many of Farish Street’s locations, including Shepherd’s Kitchenette, Stevens Kitchen, and the Rose Room.
It’s always sad when buildings are abandoned, but it’s wonderful that you were able to find Stephen’s Kitchen in an old travel guide.
I spent Sundays trying to be on my best behavior during church service at Farish Street Baptist Church, just across from the Stevens Kitchen. My Dad and Mom always allowed me to order the oysters….when in season. I had great Sunday afternoons there with my parents, and my Aunt and Uncle.
I always love it when someone with a personal connection to a place I write about stops by! How were the oysters prepared? My mother always fried them, and they were a special treat. Do you know when Stevens closed, and if they had any connection to the earlier mentioned Stevens Bar-B-Q?