USA Today names The Tamale Place among state’s best

Published 2:18 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Chanah Crow drives from West Monroe, La. to get hot tamales from the Tamale Place, located on the South Frontage Road.

“They are the best,” Crow said.

The Louisiana resident isn’t the only one who thinks The Tamale Place’s hot tamales are tasty. The USA Today Reader’s Choice Awards has named the local eatery as one of the top 10 winners in the category of Best Hot Tamales in Mississippi.

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“It’s just wonderful,” owner of the Tamale Place Allen Brown said, after finding out the news. “We strive hard to do what we have been doing for all these years.”

Brown, who opened the popular eatery 27 years ago, was no stranger to the industry.

Brown is the grandson of Henry Solly, who opened Solly’s Hot Tamales in 1939. The restaurant, which is now owned and operated by Jewel McCain, is located on Washington Street. Brown said he remembers spending many hours at his grandfather’s restaurant.

It wasn’t until after his grandfather’s death, Brown said, that his mother and sisters decided they wanted to open a business for themselves, and in 1993 The Tamale Place was opened.

Seven years later, after working in the sawmills, Brown came on board and has since inherited the business.

The recipe used for the tamales is the same one used by his grandfather, Brown said, and its ingredients include a blend of chili, a cornmeal mixture and meat.

Brown said he mixes up the cornmeal mixture four mornings a week, and on Tuesdays, he makes the chili, which he said is the “center” of the hot tamales.

A “special machine” is then used to form the tamales into a tube and then they are hand-rolled in corn shucks.

Brown described his tamales are “well-seasoned and moist.”

As to how many tamales he makes on a weekly basis, Brown said, “too many to count and not enough to retire.”

Crow said it was her late father who tipped her — and many of his friends — off to The Tamale Place. The friends would also make the pilgrimage to the River City for the tamales.

“When he would drive through Vicksburg he would always get some tamales,” Crow said.

On Monday, Crow and her mother picked up 11 dozen tamales. The pair admitted they polished off a dozen while sitting in the car, but the remaining 10, Crow said, would be frozen and eaten at a later date.

The top ten best hot tamales in Mississippi were chosen by a panel of experts who partnered with the USA Today Reader’s Choice 10 Best editors. The group picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were then determined by popular vote.

Those chosen as the Top 10 were:

  1. Tony’s Tamales – Jackson
  2. Doris’ Hot Tamales – D’Iberville
  3. Tamale Shak – Gulfport
  4. Fat Mama’s Tamales – Natchez
  5. Hot Tamale Heaven – Greenville
  6. Doe’s Eat Place – Greenville
  7. White Front Cafe – Rosedale
  8. Abe’s BAR-B-Q – Clarksdale
  9. Hicks’ Tamales – Clarksdale
  10. The Tamale Place – Vicksburg

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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