The atmosphere around Lily’s Cafe is unlike any other restaurant in Itawamba County.
The shuffling, swingy style of New Orleans jazz greets guests, with the music piping through speakers above the entrance and bouncing off the buildings in downtown Fulton, turning the entire square into a dance hall. Or, if it’s Wednesday, the soulful crooning of local musician Bob Gilliland can be heard resonating from his usual spot on the small stage at the back of the restaurant, lending the place the lively air of a Beale Street bar – minus the alcohol.
Lily’s serves gourmet sandwiches and burgers for lunch during the week, but it also has live music and is available for private parties.
Owner Robert Cartwright said it’s the kind of place he likes to hang out – the kind of place that feels like his own.
“If I’m going to spend hours in here every day, I want it to be a place that feels comfortable to me,” he said.
Those with sharp memories might recall the original Lily’s Cafe shuttering its doors a few years ago. Cartwright, a transplant from Blue Mountain and friend of the original owner’s family, was offered the chance to reopen the business. After some sleepless, soul-searching nights, he decided to give it a chance.
“I’ve always wanted to own my own business,” he said, adding that he’s managed restaurants in the past, but never owned his own. “The more I looked at it, the more I thought I would do something with it.”
• Est.: 2013
• Address: 101 S. Gaither St., Fulton
• Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
• Phone: (662) 862-3240
• Employees: 2
• Facebook: Lily’s Cafe
• Instagram: lilysonthesquare