Crosby and Edwards

Pamela Crosby said she had them fooled for a lot of years.

“They didn’t think I knew how to cook,” she said of her mother and sister who did all the cooking for her. “I would literally go in the kitchen and burn up something so I didn’t have to do it.”

Now, she’s the owner of her very own restaurant, named after her mom, in a place where she served food 25 years ago (no fooling).

Crosby and fiance Tony Edwards have opened Annie Mae’s Cafeteria at Mississippi Industries for the Blind (MIB). Specializing in hot plates and short orders, the pair said they are filling a special need.

While open to the public Monday through Friday, 6:30am to 4:30pm, their biggest clientele is the 100+ employees for MIB who, according to Edwards, are in the cafeteria every time they have a break. “When they go home, most of them don’t cook and so they buy food to take with them,” he explained.

Breakfast plates are served (for less than $5), and include bacon or sausage, grits, eggs and a biscuit or toast with a coffee. At lunch, a “meat and two” plate (less than $8) may include smothered pork chops, red beans and rice, pepper steak or fish (on Fridays). Short orders like burgers, fries, onion rings, Philly cheese steak and chicken on a stick are also available.

Edwards calls it “a home cooked meal away from home,” and boasts the best prices in town. “And, I have to say, the best food,” he chuckled.

The couple previously served food out of Discount Food on Terry Road and later in Clinton, but Crosby, a Jackson native, said that didn’t work for her.

When they found out the former cafeteria at MIB was available, it gave them an opportunity to open doors in Fondren. Edwards said, “It’s been successful so far.”

Cook-in-disguise Crosby, who worked in this same cafeteria in her younger days, brought the soul food hot plate to Miller’s downtown, once known only for their pizza and salads. While working there, she said she dreamed of something more. “I said, ‘One day I’m going to own my own place.'”

Annie Mae finally found out her daughter could cook just before she passed away. Now, all of Jackson gets the chance to find out, too. And Annie Mae would be proud.