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The first Cock of the Walk opened in April, 1977, on the bank of the ole "Mighty Muddy Mississippi River" in Natchez, Mississippi. The founders were Sallie and Basil Ballard, Weeta and Forrest Colebank, and Ann and George Eyrich. After many months of extensive research and development, these three couples opened in an old shanty home down on the river in a very famous (infamous to some) area called "Under the Hill". They chose the name, "Cock of the Walk" because it signified the "best of the best". In the early 1800's, much of the nation's commerce took place on riverboats transporting goods such as cotton and tobacco. Folklore has it that the brawny, bawdy bunch of men that manned these boats would fight to see who got to man the rudder (the easiest job). Whoever came out on top was called the "Cock of the Walk", the ruler of the roost and the best of the best! In 1977 catfish restaurants were a dime a dozen, especially in Mississippi. But this one turned out to be the "Cock of the Walk" right from the start!

In fact, Cock of the Walk has won national acclaim in too many venues to list but some of the more notable have been, "Where to find the best food in America" in People Magazine, where Cock of the Walk was listed as having THE best catfish and hushpuppies in the U.S.A. Craig Claiborne, food editor for the New York Times wrote that "Cock of the Walk has the best catfish in Mississippi, and therefore, the nation. And if you like country cooking... superb!"

The Founders and Mike Rickels are pictured in a rare picture in 1984 at the Opryland Hotel, taking a break from the grand opening of the Cock of the Walk in Nashville, TN. Pictured left to right are Ann & George Eyrich, Forest & Weeta Colebank, Mike Rickels, Sallie & Basil Ballard. 

The Original Location - Natchez, Ms

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