Mayflower Cafe: a longstanding Jackson tradition

From Issue 2


The famous Mayflower Cafe in downtown Jackson has been keeping locals fed for generations. (Evans Reynolds)

One of Jackson’s oldest and longest running restaurants, the Mayflower Cafe, has been around for more than 80 years. Most everyone in Jackson has probably heard of or experienced the restaurant on West Capitol Street, but not everyone knows how the Mayflower Cafe, known as the Mayflower, has stood the test of time. 

The Mayflower Cafe was originally founded by a Greek duo, George Kountouris and John Gouras, from the island of Patmos. The restaurant originally was advertised as just a hamburger stand in 1935. After its opening, though, it gained popularity and became a full-service restaurant within a few years. 

The original menu consisted of sandwiches, Greek specialties, and soul foods. Over the progression of downtown Jackson, the restaurant’s menu became more modern. The Mayflower menu now spotlights the classic standard of fresh seafood, the Mayflower Greek Salad, broiled redfish, and stuffed flounder. However, there is so much more to the menu than its most-wanted items. At the Mayflower, guests can get their meal started with shrimp and their famous remoulade sauce, broiled oysters, seafood gumbo, seafood salad, or crab bisque. 

The  restaurant is more than just a popular venue; guests can stop by for lunch with an entirely different menu or choose to sit in the ambience of the restaurant at night. Another thing the cafe is famous for is its baklava, a layered dessert of nuts, honey, and syrup. After all, what is a great Greek restaurant without a good baklava? 

The Mayflower Cafe has a versatile menu that has delighted all diners generation after generation. Although the restaurant is closed on Sundays, the restaurant is always filled with families and conversation waiting patiently for their next good meal. From the shining signs atop the restaurant, to the seafood with soul, the Mayflower Cafe is definitely a landmark in the capital city, one that cooks what they know and never disappoints. It’s safe to say that after 80 years many families will be back for a seat around the table.