Of all the Monroe County landmarks that have attracted people from near and far, few can match the Friendship House’s stories that have been told during the past 60 years over a plate of catfish from celebrities, international travelers and even royalty.
Stephina Fowlkes’ parents, Jimmie and Willie Lois Miles, opened Jimmy’s Fish House in the 1950s just up the road on Cotton Gin Hill from the Frienship House’s current location.
Carl Perkins once played a show in Nettleton early in his career and ate at the restaurant while in the area. After making friends with Stephina’s uncle, he returned with Johnny Cash after their famous 1956 concert with Elvis in Amory.
In more recent years, the restaurant has fed three Miss Americas, two Miss Mississippi winners, Prince Edward and Dolly Parton while they were in town for a Stars Over Mississippi event; George Lindsey while he was visiting; and former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Lee Roy Jordan after a trip to Okolona shopping around for a bird dog.
Stephina and Doug Fowlkes bought out her parents’ restaurant, and in 1983, the current location was built on a shoestring budget. The original name was changed to Bill and Jim’s Friendship House.
The most popular dish is the farm-raised Delta catfish. Fresh Gulf seafood is delivered weekly, and peeled shrimp and hand-breaded shrimp, oysters and onion rings are a few of the other popular menu items.
In 1987, the restaurant expanded to accommodate another 125 people. Today, the Fowlkeses feed between 200 and 400 customers on any given night.
Ray Van Dusen, Monroe Journal
• Owners: Doug and Stephina Fowlkes
• Est.: 1983
• Address: 20025 Doss Drive, Aberdeen
• Phone: (662) 257-2211
• Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• Facebook: The Friendship House Restaurant