Owner of historic soul food restaurant passes away Owner of South Memphis soul food restaurant passes away June 10, 2019 at 4:57 PM CDT - Updated June 10 at 5:54 PM MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The owner of a historic soul food restaurant has passed away. Jo Ellen Bates died Monday. Bates owned The Four Way, a historic restaurant that opened in 1946. The establishment has been featured in rap videos and made Andrew Zimmern’s List on the Travel Channel. This past weekend, Memphis lost Mrs. Jo Ellen Bates. For years, her and her husband, Willie Bates, owned and operated one of the best and most historic restaurants in our city—The Four Way. Thoughts and prayers go out to her family.— Mayor Jim Strickland (@MayorMemphis) June 10, 2019 Copyright 2019 WMC. All rights reserved.