Monday, March 5, 2018

Matchbook Monday

A new temporary feature will be "Matchbook Monday." A friend was going to throw out a bag of restaurant matchbooks her husband had collected for decades but gave them to me when I asked that she do so.  The matchbooks are forgotten mementos of Jackson's history so JJ will post a few each Monday.  Readers can email me at if they would like to send photos of their matchbooks or give them to JJ.  Enjoy.

The first one is Johnny's Restaurant.   It was apparently a fine dining restaurant on Highway 80 in Jackson. 

JJ discovered this old Clarion-Ledger ad for the grand opening of the restaurant. Founder Johnny Hontzas immigrated to America from Greece in 1922 and made Jackson his home in 1945.   He died in 1974. 

The next one up is an old Jackson landmark that will surely be remember by our um, legacy readers.

The restaurant closed in 1985 after serving Jackson for 41 years.

Last but not least is a bank.  Yes, banks used to pass out matchbooks.  A shame they no longer do so because Mike Moore would have figured out a way to tie them to tobacco.  This one is First Federal Savings & Loan.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting these. I grew up in Jackson, as did my parents, and I remember LeFluer's but not Johnny's. Very interesting to see how the city has changed/moved.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes. Back in the 70s and early 80s, LeFleurs and Dennery's were the two most established fine dining restaurants in town.

Anonymous said...

What would also be an interesting connection would be to see of these place, how many people would still frequent them of they were in their original locations, and if not, why?

Anonymous said...

Legacy reader here. If younger folk had a time machine and popped up in Jackson in 1970, one of the first things they would find out is that Jackson had no decent restaurants other than the Mayflower and Crechale's There were restaurants that marketed themselves as "fine dining establishments," like LeFleur's, Primos, Dennery's and the Rotisserie, but they were only average in the quality of the food. There's been a huge change for the better since then. Special honors to the gumbo at the Olde Tyme, and to the donut holes at Primos. And maybe to the steak basket at the Dutch Bar, which I usually ate after 3 or 4 beers so I may be exaggerating its ranking.

Unknown said...

Very cool

Anonymous said...

I remember when Dennery's would not seat me in the early 70's because my hair was too long.

Anonymous said...

What would also be an interesting connection would be to see of these place, how many people would still frequent them of they were in their original locations, and if not, why?

Johnny's? Doubtful simply because of the location. The neighborhood is not one many folks would visit after dark and most people who would patronize such a place live far away.

LeFleur's? Probably. Char and Bravo are not far down the road and are doing fine. I believe it closed because of the sale of the land to build LeFleur's Gallery, but it may have shut down before then. Anyone remember?

First Federal (aka Unifirst)? Location is not the driver for most people these days when it comes to a financial institution, and there are branches of Trustmark in most of those places except Jackson Square, I think. So if it were still a solvent institution (ha ha), then probably.

Anonymous said...

I'm almost certain that the Johnny's Restaurant later became Fisherman's Wharf, owned by another Greek Jerry Psanos. As for the building, I'm sure it's abandoned.

Anonymous said...

For Johnny's, was seafood their specialty, or were steaks and chicken their specialty?

Anonymous said...

1:29, you are correct about Fisherman's Wharf. I checked the address in an old phone book I have. Used to go there and Lefleur's all the time when my grandparents would come to town in the late 70s and early 80s. Johnny's grandson, Tim, opened up a restaurant over in the Birmingham area with the same name. He even tells the backstory on the website:

Louis LeFleur said...

KF chose to not include my earlier post on this topic, which is certainly his right. Maybe TMI/TMQ. Whatever. In the meantime, I did fine that the motel associated with LeFleur's was The Jacksonsian, which is what I was thinking but couldn't verify at the time.

The Jacksonian

There is also a link there with more info on LeFleurs.

Anonymous said...

What's a matchbook?

Anonymous said...

Who was the Greek guy that owned Johnny O's on county line Rd 30 years ago? Food was great. He was a jerk!!!!

Anonymous said...

I remember hearing that Dennery's wouldn't serve Bob Barker once when he was in town because one of his entourage's hair was too long.

So, 1:08, how's old Bob doing?

Anonymous said...

If I could just pull onto the gravel lot of Hickory House on W. Capitol Street one more time, flash my headlights and have one of the ladies come out and take my order for a steak finger basket and a cold one. It was across from Cedar Lawn Cemetery, just east of the zoo.

Ah Memories....

Anonymous said...

Why we can't have nice things anymore...part 465:

Safety matches and fun. Does anyone else remember having match fights? As long as they didn't land in the couch or trash or someone's hair can you were ok!

The kid with the voice of caution suggesting to have the match fight outside in the back yard instead of a dark basement? He was accused of being a RALPH NADER sympathizer and wearing his seatbelt at all times!

(If you had a little tinfoil- from the cigarette pack!- and a toothpick- you had a mini bottle rocket!)

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS