Last week it was Diners, Drive-Ins and Drives. This week, it was all about Food Paradise.
That’s right, the crews of Travel Channel/Food Network ventured to Memphis’ own Four Way (Grill) Restaurant Wednesday, May 16 to visit Willie Bates and his historic soul food joint at 998 Mississippi Blvd.
“They did the whole nine yards,” Bates said. “They stayed here for the entire day for the most part during our working hours.”
The television series features the best places to find certain food categories at eateries nationwide. Past shows have included everything from “Bar Food Paradise” to “Bacon Paradise” and even “Deep Fried Paradise.”
Bates was filmed making fried catfish, collard greens, fried green tomatoes, strawberry cake, and other popular menu items.
The restaurant took flight under Irene Cleaves in 1946.
“That lady really set the tone back in the day,” Bates said. “She won the Memphis Black Heritage Award and many other (awards). It happened that Mr. Cleaves was the chauffer for boss (E.H.) Crump. That tells us that he had the support and well wishes of the entire Memphis area. Over time, persons like Dr. King and even some of the presidents came. She made great waves all over the country and we continue to move forward under that same type of contact.”
Bates said the show will air in about three months.
“It’s an exciting time,” Bates said. “I’m pleased that it’s a Memphis thing and we’ve been able to support the efforts of this great city with all of its variety in terms of soul food. We think that Four Way will continue to be an asset to drawing a crowd and the reputation of Memphis.”