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The Artful Evolution of Hal & Mal’s

The Artful Evolution of Hal & Mal’s

By Malcolm White
Illustrated by Ginger Williams Cook
Foreword by Robert St. John
Hardcover : 9781496812032, 160 pages, 58 color illustrations, February 2018

A playful look at one of Mississippi's iconic landmarks


The Artful Evolution of Hal & Mal's is a collaboration between artist Ginger Williams Cook and author Malcolm White about the people, the place, and the history of Hal & Mal's, an iconic institution in downtown Jackson, Mississippi.

Featuring beautiful watercolor paintings, the book brings together thirty years of family history, live music performances, and cafe society through graphic designs of old photographs, original illustrations, Hal's legendary recipe cards, and the written word. Opening with a foreword by the renowned author and chef Robert St. John and featuring Ginger's bold and vibrant look at a place she grew up patronizing, The Artful Evolution of Hal & Mal's captures the reflective, quirky voice of one half of the dynamic team known to millions as Hal & Mal.

Hal & Mal's was conceived by brothers Hal and Malcolm White. The dream was rooted in a childhood on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, reinforced by years of living and working in New Orleans, and ultimately launched in Jackson in 1985. This gathering place has always been owned and operated by family--now the second and third generations. The multifunctional, southern-soul-soaked rooms are adorned with memorabilia and chock-full of local character; each one also features a stage for live music. The kitchen serves a steady offering of hearty regional staples with a nod toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Hal & Mal's is the most-talked-about upscale honky-tonk in all of Mississippi, where art is made, music plays, and folks gather to share community and celebrate the very best of Mississippi's creative spirit.


"The Artful Evolution of Hal and Mal’s is a thorough and creatively presented history of White’s iconic restaurant/bar—Hal and Mal’s—in Jackson, Mississippi. "

- Robert St. John, Sunday Journal

"I’ve learned a lot about Mississippi from Malcolm White. When on assignment in Jackson, I’d stop by Hal & Mal’s for a plate of tamales, saltines with comeback sauce, and some dish on the news. White’s lovely coffee-table book tells the story of the institution he started with his late brother Hal. It’s a loving family memoir—but also recounts the eclectic who’s who the brothers hosted, including acts from Albert King to Snoop Dogg. Writer and former Harper’s editor Willie Morris had a phone installed at his regular table. Elvis never played Hal & Mal’s, but the King has a place of honor, in velvet, on the wall by the men’s room. "

- Debbie Elliott, correspondent, National Desk, NPR’s Book Concierge: Our Guide to 2018’s Great Reads

"In The Artful Evolution of Hal & Mal’s, Mississippi’s legendary impresario Malcolm White—with a little help from his friends—has assembled an affectionate history of the restaurant he started with his late brother Hal that grew into a Jackson institution; a capital for good times; and a multicultural home for musicians, artists, writers, and even some normal people."

- Curtis Wilkie, author of The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America’s Most Powerful Trial Lawyer