H&H Soul Food Restaurant's Unique Connection To Rock Royalty

Soul food has long been linked to music. This style of cuisine gained widespread recognition in the 1960s, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, around the same time that soul music became popular. Soul music, derived in part from rhythm and blues, influenced the closely related genre of rock and roll, which also has roots in R&B. Black culture is intertwined with all of these trends. The term "soul food" may have been first printed in 1964, but its African American roots stretch back at least a century earlier than that.

After emancipation, many African American chefs had to be resourceful and put affordable, local, Southern ingredients to good use, per Encyclopedia Britannica. Iconic foods include barbecue, cobbler, deer, fish, greens, hush puppies, lima beans, molasses, okra, pork, rice, sweet potato, and turtle. Over time, this culinary style spread north and drew influence from other cuisines while also influencing them. By the 1940s, soul food restaurants were popping up in U.S. cities with large Black populations all across the nation. The appeal was multicultural and long lasting.

H&H Restaurant is a prime example of this cuisine. Located in Macon, Georgia, the establishment was founded in 1959 by two African American entrepreneurs, according to Macon Music Trail. Serving breakfast, lunch, and brunch, H&H Restaurant offers biscuits, country ham, fried chicken, green beans, peach cobbler, ribs, smoked turkey, waffles, and more. H&H is still in operation today, and it remains a favored spot of not just soul food fans, but also music aficionados.

A Southern music connection

H&H Restaurant's connection to rock and roll goes beyond cultural ties. Its founders, Inez Hill ("Mama Hill") and Louise Hudson ("Mama Louise") — who must have lent the first letter of their last names to the establishment's moniker — were friends with rock stars. According to Macon Music Trail, the gas station-turned-restaurant once fed a couple of broke hippies for free because Mama Louise didn't like how skinny they looked. It turned out, those diners were none other than the Allman Brothers Band. That was the beginning of a long friendship. Mama Louise even ended up on their 1972 tour bus. The Allman Brothers weren't H&H's only rocker friends, though. The Black Crowes and the Police are both known to have dined at H&H back in the day. You can still find authentic rock posters and promotional materials covering H&H's walls, as well as a jukebox blaring rock and roll there. You can also order their open-faced Red Dog biscuit, named after one of the Allman Brother Band's roadies.

Did all of this come about through mere coincidence? Not quite. In the 1970s, Capricorn Records helped out the careers of several musicians, including the Marshall Tucker Band, Elvin Bishop, Dixie Dregs, Charlie Daniels Band, and the Allman Brothers Band, per New Georgia Encyclopedia. This Southern rock record label was in fact located in Macon during the '70s and brought many rockers to the hometown of H&H Restaurant. All these decades later, H&H is still rocking and rolling, as are its customers.