Welcome to Starkville's Oldest Pizzeria & Only Neighborhood Tavern
Voted Starkville's Best Locally Owned Restaurant 2013.
Voted Best Pizza and Best Place to get a cold beer 2020
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The Legend of Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern
It was the last cast on a windy, rainy day that Dave caught the fish that would change his life. This was not his first fish and didn’t feel particularly special as he reeled it in. The fish was, in fact, a little on the lazy side as these things go. She hardly fought at all as she came towards the boat, and when she was alongside she rolled her eyes up, looked at Dave who was looking at her, and gently floated in the water. She was a fine fish. She had three inches of dark green and brown algae streaming from her gills. There were barnacles attached to her belly, and best of all, there was a collection of hooks and lures, some still shiny and some grown into the slimy skin around her mouth like jewelry.
I can’t say that it wasn’t a bit eerie to see Dave peering through the rain at what might have been the oldest fish in the world, but that is what everyone on the boat saw. It seemed that the fish was telling a story and it was only telling it to him. Dave began to work the lures out of her mouth and, as he freed each one, he named it and tossed it to the deck. As he got to the older ones he became more and more excited until he took out the last crude wooden plug and slipped it into his pocket. Believe it or not, a fish can show relief, and this one looked like she might slip into a pleasant deep sleep as Dave took that final hook out. Her eyes rolled back in her head as she was lifted over the side and allowed to slip back into the bay.
Dave then said something that I could not hear over the wind. I only know that just when he let the fish go, as it splashed in the waves, she spit a corked bottle onto the deck. The bottle hit the floor of the boat and shattered at Dave’s feet. There, amongst the shards of glass was a piece of leather with script burned into one side, which Dave picked up and read to us.
“A man on a sinking ship knows what is important. It is not his name and it is not his life. It is the memory of the fun that he has had. He remembers if he is lonely, his friends. And he remembers if he is hungry, the taste of good food. And he may recall with some detail, if he is thirsty, good draught. For me I am all three; lonely, hungry, and thirsty, but I am also lucky. Though water is pouring through a hole in my ship, I am not here. I am at home, in a tavern with friends, food, and beer.” By Patrick Pittman