Constructed in the 1950s, the Greenview Café was approved for the National Register of Historic Places for its significance to African American history in Crossett. From the time the current building was built circa 1950 until it closed circa 1970, the Greenview Café served as a popular gathering place for Crossett’s African American community.
The Greenview Café was a gathering place for all members of the black community of Crossett in the 1950s and 60s, a time when many other businesses were not open to them. Bill and Ophia Harris first opened the Crossett Camp Café in the 1920s on 6th Street. In the early 1950s, they built a new building on 3rd Avenue, and the Greenview Café was born. It was a place that teenagers and senior citizens alike could enjoy. The most popular day at the café was Sunday. From the time church let out until closing, a crowd filled this small café for food and fellowship. According to a former worker at the café, there was usually a crowd outside as well. Many of the teenagers would gather at the café until time for the afternoon show at the movie theater, which was located a couple of blocks over on Main Street. The teenagers also frequented the café during lunch breaks from school and the crowd usually had to be “run off” at closing time.
The café was filled with tables and chairs and had a bar with bar stools along the east wall. Bill served hamburgers, cheeseburger, hot dogs with chili sauce, and plate lunches, but was known for his barbeque with homemade barbeque sauce. The sauce was so popular that Piggly Wiggly Stores began carrying it. The Greenview also served ice cream from a bucket—vanilla, chocolate, and orange-pineapple, in a cone or in a cup. One former teenaged customer remembered that he liked his with soda pop poured over the top of his ice cream. A see-burg (or jukebox) was there to entertain the customers, and Bill was always willing to lend a couple of quarters to play the next song.
After Bill died, so did the Greenview. Ophia continued to make the barbeque sauce but wasn’t able to run the café. The building was purchased by the Westside Ministerial Alliance at auction. The Alliance had plans of developing a bible college, but their plans never materialized. The building has been vacant since, but holds a special place in the hearts of all who ate and gathered there.
The listing was approved in January, 2005.