Rockabilly Cafe in Selmer Offers Southern Cooking with Music on the Side

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Rockabilly Cafe, Selmer, TN

Photo credit: Jeff Adkins

Located in central McNairy County about halfway between Jackson, Tennessee, and Tupelo, Mississippi, the small town of Selmer sat at the center of the cultural movement that led to the birth of rockabilly music in the 1950s. Many of the genre’s most iconic figures like Carl Perkins frequented the Selmer community to perform, and Elvis Presley gave his first live performance outside of Memphis just up the road in Bethel Springs. The Rockabilly Highway (45 South) also runs directly through the center of historic downtown Selmer, where one local restaurant honors the region’s musical roots with rockabilly memorabilia, delicious home cooking and plenty of Southern hospitality.

The family-owned Rockabilly Café got its start in 2010, when owner Lola Weatherly decided to go into business with her sister and daughter.

See more: Commodore Music Café in Linden Features a Nod to the Past and a Taste for the Future

“It was just a dream we had,” Weatherly says. “And we just love it. We’re a really close-knit little café.”

Weatherly, who grew up listening to rockabilly and country music on the jukebox at her aunt’s café, wanted to give the restaurant a name that the whole community could relate to. She found the inspiration she was looking for in Selmer’s rockabilly heritage.

Rockabilly Cafe, Selmer, TN

Photo by Jeff Adkins

Inside the café, photos of iconic rockabilly, blues and country music artists cover the walls, along with albums, stories and other items customers have brought to add to the collection over the years. The menu also includes a peanut butter and banana sandwich (one of Elvis Presley’s favorite dishes) and a BLT sandwich named the “Brian Lee Tull” after the artist who painted the famous Rockabilly Highway Mural located just around the corner from the restaurant.Aside from the unique themed dishes, customers love the all-day breakfast and lunch specials that change daily.

“Sometimes we just decide that morning what we’re going to have,” Weatherly says.

Among the restaurant’s most popular dishes are “Frida’s Fried Chicken” prepared by Weatherly’s sister-in-law Frida every Tuesday, chicken and dressing on Wednesdays, and fish fillets on Fridays.

See more: Bell Buckle Cafe Serves Down-Home Cooking

Weatherly also aims to source the café’s ingredients locally whenever possible. All the sausage comes from The Pork Shoppe in the neighboring town of Ramer, and the fish come from nearby Briggs, Mississippi.

While the unique atmosphere and quality food might draw in the customers, it’s the Southern hospitality that keeps them coming back again and again. Rockabilly Café even hosts a free Thanksgiving meal every year to give back to the community while collecting donations for local families in need.

“It’s all about the people, the ones passing through and the ones who live here,” Weatherly says. “We love to talk and find out where our customers come from, and it just feels like family.”

The Dish on Rockabilly Café

Location: 103 S. Front St., Selmer

Hours: Monday through Friday, 4:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Closed Sunday

Phone: (731) 645-6070

Online: Visit Rockabilly Cafe on Facebook.

While You’re There: Explore the nature trails at Big Hill Pond State Park or visit the Buford Pusser Home & Museum in nearby Adamsville. This summer, plan your visit around Selmer’s annual Rockabilly Highway Revival Festival during the second weekend in June for live music, great food and family fun.

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