When you’re near Indianola, stop by The Crown Restaurant where you are welcome to stay all afternoon.
My relationship with Evelyn Roughton, entrepreneur, and owner of The Crown Restaurant in downtown Indianola, goes back to the late 1990s. I don’t remember exactly how we connected. Perhaps it was because of our love for tea and tea parties.
What I remember most about our meetings over the years is the time she gave to me, sharing information and offering encouragement. I felt that she was making a personal investment in me. But more importantly, we had a kindred spirit.
The History of The Crown
The origination of The Crown began with a love for antiques, specifically English antiques. In 1972, while Evelyn and her husband, Tony (who passed in May of 2023), were stationed in England with the Air Force, they purchased beautiful old furniture and shipped the items back to Evelyn’s parents.
When the furniture arrived, the items were placed in a steel frame building in the middle of a cotton field about five miles from Indianola. People came for miles around to purchase the English antiques. Then, when the Roughton’s returned to Indianola in 1976, they expanded the business by adding The Crown Restaurant within the Mall.
The menu consisted of one entrée with a salad bar. After the meal, a waitress or waiter rolled an English wooden tea cart to your table. It was filled with various desserts, making it difficult for the customer to choose.
Plan a Trip for the Holidays
Eventually, the decision was made to move The Crown to the downtown area of Indianola. It was here that I had an opportunity to visit with Evelyn Roughton and her daughter, Jennifer Schaumburg.
But first, I perused their menu, consisting of entrée (catfish and chicken), sandwiches, salads, and soup. It was hard to decide, but I went with the Crown’s Chicken Salad Plate, which was divine. Now, instead of a dessert cart coming to your table, the waiter brought a choice of three warm breads. You will find a dessert table with various pies at the back of the restaurant for you to choose one or more. If your tastebuds need something extra, add a dollop of whipped cream.
Upon finishing my meal, Evelyn arrived for our interview. She shared that she still tries to come in almost daily and help where possible. However, the business has been turned over to Jennifer, who oversees the day-to-day operations, which is steady and keeps her busy. Evelyn said, “she is the heart of this business.”
We made our way to some comfy chairs in the gift shop area and spent time getting caught up on life and talking about the importance of fine China and tea parties. Evelyn shared stories about her grandmother’s China, a beautiful floral with gold inlay pattern, and how it was used with tea parties with her granddaughters.
We both agreed that not only does a cup of tea warm you physically, but it warms your heart as you enjoy a cup of fellowship with a friend. Perhaps this is why they have the following statement at the bottom of their menu, “You are welcomed to stay all afternoon!” I highly recommend that you and your companions do just that.
Taste of Gourmet
Another aspect of The Crown is the Taste of Gourmet products. They were introduced in 1990, and today, the product line consists of breads, dips, sauces, soups, desserts, and more. The mixes were created from their favorite recipes.
In the early 2000s, I signed up as a consultant, offering the products at in-home parties. They were, and still are, the perfect items for anyone’s gifting needs and delicious. Today, with the expansion of the internet and time constraints, home parties are not as popular.
Check out the Taste of Gourmet website and prepare a meal for someone: Creamy Delta Bisque, Tomato Basil Bread, and then add Mississippi Delta Fudge Pie. Once you try the foods at The Crown or with the Taste of Gourmet, you might want to try Evelyn’s recipes from The Crown of Southern Cooking: Recipes from the Birthplace of the Blues. Remember, “Food is a Gift of Love.”
Connection to the B. B. King Museum
From a prior visit, I knew Evelyn had been involved with the idea of a museum honoring the life of B. B. King. She told me that before 2005, several people in the community met to consider that possibility.
“It was a community effort, and raising the money took a long time,” said Evelyn.
Eventually, everything came together for the B. B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center. It opened on September 13, 2008.
“I had the opportunity to meet B. B. King several times. He was so personable,” shared Evelyn.
After the museum opened, Sage, Evelyn’s granddaughter, participated in the children’s music camps. When B. B. King passed on May 14, 2015, Sage was part of the choir that sang at his funeral.
Personal Thoughts about Indianola
At the close of our conversation, I asked Evelyn what she would like to share with our readers. Without hesitation, she said, “Indianola is a small town with good people willing to help. Also, the Indian Bayou makes the town unique. I love hearing the bells ring throughout the downtown area sponsored by a church.”
We end our time together with a big hug. And, of course, I couldn’t leave without purchasing the Mississippi Delta Fudge Pie, Sweet Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette, and the award-winning Catfish with Capers, a Mississippi Mousse for the upcoming holidays.
The Crown Restaurant is located at112 Front Avenue in Indianola, Mississippi. You can reach them by calling (662) 887-4522 or visit their website here. They are closed Sunday and Monday, and open 10:00am to 4:00pm Tuesday through Saturday.