Port Gibson is located about halfway between Natchez and Vicksburg on Highway 61, the Blues Highway. You'll find Grant's Place and some mighty fine food and some friendly folks located just north of town. Headed north on Highway 61, cross the bridge over Bayou Pierre (not Towyard Branch as shown in the map) and look to your left.
I found Grant's Place entirely by accident. One afternoon a couple of years ago I was headed up Highway 61 north of Natchez, and the urge struck me for a cup of coffee.
About a half hour earlier, I'd lunched at a fast food place outside Natchez, and the meal lacked a lot, to say the least. So I started hunting a place that served non-fast food coffee--real coffee, maybe even some strong Louisiana-style coffee. When I reached Port Gibson, I stopped at a traffic light almost outside of town, and a black man walked across Highway 61 in front of my car. I rolled down my window and asked him, "Say, buddy, is there a good place to get a cup of coffee around here?"
He pointed up Highway 61 and said, "Grant's Place. Cross the bridge over Bayou Pierre and look to your left."
She brought the coffee and water and one of us struck up a conversation. The coffee was strong, freshly-brewed, satisfying. She was the owner's daughter, and her name was Kim, the same as my daughter. And she didn't charge me for the coffee. "That's all you had?" she said. "Go on."
On my way down Highway 61 around noon a couple of weeks later, I bypassed the fast food places in Vicksburg and headed straight for Grant's Place in Port Gibson. There I nourished my body and soul on smothered steak as tender as real veal and smothered in gravy as rich and brown as Mississippi mud. I filled the hollowed-out bowl in the center of my dollop of mashed potatoes with that rich brown gravy. I sprinkled pepper sauce on my turnip greens and my peas. I sliced open my thick slice of cornbread and filled it with butter. And I ate like a king. When I finished and sipped a cup of Kim's satisfying coffee, I decided that life was indeed grand out on the Blues Highway.
On the left in the picture on the right, you see Kim Johnson, the owner's daughter. Her daddy's name is Grant Fields, Sr.
Make sure you take a good look at the lady wearing the blue shirt and standing beside Kim. That's Rhoda Odoms, the cook. Rhoda told me, "I love to cook. I been cookin' here for nine years. Hey, you spell my name right, you hear? I do the cookin' in this place. All Kim does is collect the money."
Well, I think Kim does more than that, but I can tell you one thing for a fact--Rhoda Odoms is a mighty fine cook.
Here's some white folks and some black folks lined up at Grant's counter and mostly placing to-go orders. I took this photo about 11 a.m., early for the lunchtime rush.
Here's that day's menu: fried chicken; rice and gravy; fried okra; turnip greens; cornbread or rolls; and peach cobbler for dessert.
The cost: $5.51, including tax.
The taste: wonderful.