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Ground Zero Blues Club

0 Blues Alley, Clarksdale, MS - (662) 621-9009
Posted By Michael Stern on 3/10/2008 9:52:00 AM
This colorful restaurant / blues club was named to signify the blues-lore belief that Clarksdale, Mississippi, is where the blues began. It is ground zero for the music of which Muddy Waters sang, “The blues had a baby and they called it Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

In addition to being home of so many of the masters of blues music, this part of Mississippi is also where actor Morgan Freeman comes from; and a few years ago Freeman decided that he wanted a good place to eat when he was back home away from Hollywood. With a couple of local partners, he opened Ground Zero, which is a gigantic juke-joint / eat-place across the road from the town’s estimable Blues Museum.

With pool tables up front, exposed brick walls and rough wood floors, Ground Zero is a venue for listening to live music and drinking beer by the quart at night, as well as an opportunity to eat well-made plate lunch every day. It’s a meat-and-three menu, with a daily choices from a couple of entrees (i.e. baked chicken, pork chops) and a handful of vegetables (mashed potatoes, mac ‘n’ cheese, greens) with cornbread on the side. There are always hamburgers and catfish sandwiches, as well as platters of such locally favored snacks as hot tamales and fried grits.

And if beer is not your beverage, remember that this is the south; ergo, good ice tea is always available.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Fried Hot Tamales
Fried Green Tomato Sandwich
Fried Chicken
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Tamales are a favorite snack throughout the Mississippi Delta. The staff at Ground Zero told us that these spicy filled corn husks are bought from an expert tamale-maker some sixty miles away.
"Tamales are a favorite snack throughout the Mississippi Delta. The staff at Ground Zero told us that these spicy filled corn husks are bought from an expert tamale-maker some sixty miles away."
Michael Stern





Every day at noon, Ground Zero has two hot dishes in addition to the regular menu. The day we visited the choice was fried chicken or veal parmesan. This is the former.
"Every day at noon, Ground Zero has two hot dishes in addition to the regular menu. The day we visited the choice was fried chicken or veal parmesan. This is the former."
Michael Stern


A strange hors d'oeuvre: deep-fried pieces of hot tamale. There's a lot of pleasant crunch to the dish, but not so much flavor.
"A strange hors d'oeuvre: deep-fried pieces of hot tamale. There's a lot of pleasant crunch to the dish, but not so much flavor."
Michael Stern


We like fried green tomatoes almost any which way, but these didn't have the good crunch that makes them so especially savory.
"We like fried green tomatoes almost any which way, but these didn't have the good crunch that makes them so especially savory."
Michael Stern


There's always someone around enjoying conversation, food, drinks and fine music amid the
"There's always someone around enjoying conversation, food, drinks and fine music amid the "juke joint" atmosphere, no matter what time of day it is! We enjoyed a very good Southern breakfast here on a Sunday late morning. The night before we had a great time not just listening to, but "experiencing" true Southern BLUES! "
Julie Dant


Pool table in Ground Zero Blues joint.
"Pool table in Ground Zero Blues joint. "
Julie Dant


Crystal was our friendly waitress on Saturday night.  When we came back for breakfast the next morning, she was there again and still smiling!  She truly seems as if she enjoys her job and likes meeting people; made us feel right at home.
"Crystal was our friendly waitress on Saturday night. When we came back for breakfast the next morning, she was there again and still smiling! She truly seems as if she enjoys her job and likes meeting people; made us feel right at home."
Julie Dant


Ground Zero is like a juke joint inside, only bigger. This picture was taken from the bandstand at the back of the room, looking out to the front windows. Beyond them is Clarksdale's Blues Museum.
"Ground Zero is like a juke joint inside, only bigger. This picture was taken from the bandstand at the back of the room, looking out to the front windows. Beyond them is Clarksdale's Blues Museum."
Michael Stern


The interior of Ground Zero is like an overgrown juke joint: informal to the max.
"The interior of Ground Zero is like an overgrown juke joint: informal to the max."
Michael Stern


A view looking toward the stage where the blues magic happens.  A great blues joint and a satisfyingly good restaurant.  We will go back!
"A view looking toward the stage where the blues magic happens. A great blues joint and a satisfyingly good restaurant. We will go back!"
Julie Dant


There is graffitti on every surface in the restaurant. This inscription near the front is an ode to co-owner Morgan Freeman.
"There is graffitti on every surface in the restaurant. This inscription near the front is an ode to co-owner Morgan Freeman."
Michael Stern


It's not uncommon to see lounge furniture on front porches in the south. Just outside the front door of Ground Zero, Jane relaxes in one such seat after a pleasant lunch.
"It's not uncommon to see lounge furniture on front porches in the south. Just outside the front door of Ground Zero, Jane relaxes in one such seat after a pleasant lunch."
Michael Stern


Another view of the entrance and porch of Ground Zero, showing the comfy Southern-style seating that is sometimes available.
"Another view of the entrance and porch of Ground Zero, showing the comfy Southern-style seating that is sometimes available. "
Julie Dant


Every effort has been made for Ground Zero NOT to look modernized.
"Every effort has been made for Ground Zero NOT to look modernized."
Michael Stern


At The Crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi; the spot where legend has it that Robert Johnson, the king of original blues, sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical genius.
"At The Crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi; the spot where legend has it that Robert Johnson, the king of original blues, sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical genius. "
Julie Dant



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