Eldridge, the long time proprietor of Doe’s Eat Place in Little Rock (his daughter Katherine Eldridge now owns and manages the restaurant), opened the restaurant nearly a decade ago. After the Augusta factory that made Doe’s tamales shut down, Eldridge began making them in his kitchen, before he got tired of his house always smelling like tamales and decided to build a commercial kitchen. The restaurant followed. It was only open Fridays and Saturdays and was in the middle of nowhere, but routinely drew customers from miles around. Reservations were typically required if you wanted to get a seat.
On Facebook, the restaurant said it had struggled to keep its kitchen staffed and that Eldridge deserved to enjoy retirement.
I put together an oral history of Doe’s, heavily featuring Eldridge’s big personality, last year.