Bat

Serving McComb, MS

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Delicious food

Giant lazy Susan table

History of The Dinner Bell

Over 50 decades after it first opened, The Dinner Bell still stands as one of the best restaurants for authentic southern food in McComb, MS. Our giant lazy Susan community table is the perfect setting for you to enjoy fine southern cooking and hospitality. The round table tradition began over 80 years ago in Mendenhall, MS and was implemented by boarding houses to expedite serving large numbers of people.

Humble beginnings

The first owners of the restaurant, the Jack Corbetts, had the original 18-seat table made by Loubat Restaurant Supply in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite the modest beginning, it proved to be an immediate success.

 

Eventually, their employee, Mrs. Grace Whittington, bought the business and moved it to its present location in 1959. More tables were added to accommodate the crowd, one identical to the first and two smaller, seating 12 to 14 each.

 

The building was built John White around 1921-23. It was the last of the several homes built by the Whites in the area and is the only one of brick. It features a beautiful colonial architecture and Belgian lace curtains.

“Love coming home and coming to eat here!! Great food!! Sweet people!! Definitely a southern place!!”

- Kirstin A.

Visit us today at

229 5th Ave

The idea of introducing the famous fried eggplant in the menu was honed by Mrs. Whittington. After the overwhelming success, she sold the business to the David Forrests who operated it for 20 years as The Dinner Bell Club, Inc.

Due to Mr. Forrest’s failing health, The Dinner Bell closed in 1978 and was up for sale. While visiting his family in McComb in early 1980, John Lopinto saw the ad just days before it became a beauty and dress shop. John retired and moved to McComb with his family to save it from extinction. After extensive renovation, on February 17, 1981, Mrs. Whittington-Wales cut the ribbon with Mr. Forrest in attendance and the restaurant was reopened.

Brief hiatus and reopening

Lopintos parlayed their culinary skills from cooking to hosting numerous family and church banquets into preserving and updating the specialties of The Dinner Bell. They became the Family of the Month, inducted into the Culinary Hall of fame by The Pointe, and hosts of the 25th Anniversary Entex Cooking School. Under their direction, the restaurant was featured in Southern Living and The Chicago Tribune among many others.

The Dinner Bell has carved out an amazing quest book that include the famous and the infamous, friends, neighbors and generations of patrons who came as children, returned as adults and brought their children and grandchildren! Adding new meaning to the saying “If you build it, they will come”, the pages of the quest book have representations from every US state, Canada, Mexico and almost every continent on the globe.

Serving old and new

Two of the original cooks, Alise Crossley and Corlene Washington, both deceased, worked at the restaurant well into their 80s, training assistants who now bring the kitchen to life. It is this personal experience that makes The Dinner Bell unique. The waitresses, or table maids as they were once called, have become like family. Nancy Bennett heads the wait staff and has been with us for over 30 years.

In May 2003, Lopintos retired. To their delight, Buddy Davis took the helm, promising to keep the tradition alive. He was the longtime manager of the Jitney-Jungle, now known as Winn-Dixie, which supplies many of the freshest ingredients for the restaurant including the eggplant.

At The Dinner Bell, the glorious food is the focal point. The menu has not deviated much from the original throughout the restaurant’s history. Many items have become staples over the years. While the fried eggplant is a favorite for many, others rave over the regulars such as fried chicken, dumplings and sweet potato casserole.

In addition to the classics, our ever-changing fresh seasonal vegetables, additional entrees and our ice-cold sweet tea ensure that you come back for more. Our Sunday menu includes additional items with an array of desserts that’ll make you feel like you’re at grandma’s house.

We depend on our trusted local merchants to maintain the quantity and quality of fresh vegetables. For year-round demand of the house special eggplant, the owners rely on connections across the country and even Mexico. Cooking is continual throughout the serving as is the preparation for the following day.

Our wonderful recipes are included in Celebrating 50: The Dinner Bell Restaurant Golden Anniversary Cookbook, available only at The Dinner Bell Gift Shop inside our restaurant or by mail using the online order form. The day prior to opening all those years ago, Mr. Corbett made two requests to the cooks: don’t serve canned English peas and don’t share the eggplant recipe. To this day, they don’t!

Continuing the tradition

Wonderful legacy of southern cooking