One way to celebrate National Black Business Month is visiting Four Way Grill – the city’s oldest soul food spot that’s been serving Memphians since 1946 when Irene and Clint Cleaves opened their food counter in a neighborhood pool hall. In the early 1960s, the Four Way was one of few places in Memphis where Black and white diners could break bread together.
The restaurant remained a family affair until 1996. In 2001, Willy Bates (who grew up in the neighborhood) resuscitated it and today his daughter, Patrice Thompson, is proudly at the helm, serving up cornmeal-dusted catfish and fried green tomatoes.
– Hannah Van Sickle, The Memphis 100