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Food Lover's Guide to Jackson, Mississippi
In Mississippi, we take food seriously. It’s much more than sustenance – it’s a ...
In Mississippi, we take food seriously. It’s much more than sustenance – it’s a way to show love, comfort, and a way for us to connect as families or communities. We want to share some of Jackson’s best eats, collected through crowdsourcing from social media and by polling Visit Mississippi staff. Although there are plenty of great places in the metro area, we limited the list to Jackson proper. There’s no way we could include all of the wonderful places to eat and drink, but here are a few favorites!
- Saltine – This former elementary school-turned-restaurant in Jackson’s Fondren district has become a hangout for seafood-loving locals. Raw, wood-fired, fried: You can have your oysters pretty much any way imaginable here. Happy hour offers $1 oysters on the half-shell, along with 30 beers on tap. Saltine also made Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants of 2015 list.
- The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen – Located in the historic Belhaven neighborhood, The Manship offers twists on Mediterranean and Southern classics. The seasonal cooking style ensures only the freshest ingredients are used, sourced locally. The Manship offers an excellent happy hour Monday through Friday, 3-6 pm, with half-priced wood-fired pizzas and cocktails.
- Parlor Market – True farm-to-table food and upscale atmosphere are available in the heart of downtown Jackson at Parlor Market. Inspired by cultures and ingredients of Mississippi, Parlor Market serves seasonal Southern cuisine with regional ethnic influences. The menu changes multiple times per year, using fresh, regionally sourced products. Try the Trip Down Memory Lane dessert sampler, with elevated takes on childhood favorites like Hostess cupcakes and Push-Up popsicles, served in a lunch box.
- 1908 Provisions at the Fairview Inn - This recently redesigned restaurant features creative specials that change with the seasons.
- Walker’s Drive In - Nestled in the Fondren arts district of Jackson, Walker's Drive-In offers the culinary specialities of Chef Derek Emerson, a three-time James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Chef in the South. Walker's offers an upscale experience in a casual atmosphere, featuring local ingredients from the region, sustainable seafood, and quality aged beef.
- Keifer’s – Since 1981, Keifer’s Downtown has been serving authentic Greek style gyros, hummus and salads. Try the thick-cut cottage fries!
- Babalu – Located in Jackson’s Fondren district, Babalu takes its name and inspiration from the I Love Lucy sitcom, offering Cuban-style tapas and shared plates. You MUST order the guacamole made tableside. Trust us.
- The Pig & Pint – Stop here for excellent barbecue. This Fondren restaurant is very popular with locals and on Yelp. Try the taco sampler or the nachos with crème fraiche and pickled onions. They also boast an impressive craft beer selection.
- High Noon Cafe – Serving lunch only, High Noon offers exclusively vegetarian fare, with a select menu and daily specials. Seaside Cakes (vegetarian crab cakes) with mashed potatoes, gravy, and coleslaw pack the place on Fridays.
- Sal & Mookies New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint – Great for families, this place has a menu with enough tasty options to please anyone, including craft cocktails and mocktails, and an ice cream bar for dessert.
- Two Sisters Kitchen - Buffet style, home cooking in a converted Victorian in downtown Jackson. Try the award-winning fried chicken with as many Southern sides as your plate can handle (such as cornbread, collard greens, and black-eyed peas), and save room for banana pudding or peach cobbler for dessert.
- The Country Kitchen - Located off the beaten path on W County Line Road, The Country Kitchen features packed parking lots and plate lunches daily. Try the fried catfish plate with mashed potatoes and gravy.
- Big Apple Inn - Located on historic Farish Street. The pig ear sandwich has been featured on the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods America. The less adventurous can try the smoked sausage sandwiches - “smokes” for short. Read more on The Big Apple Inn at Eat Jackson.
- Bully’s - Some say that this is THE place for soul food in downtown Jackson, and it’s packed with locals every day of the week. Try the fried oxtail with spicy collard greens.
- Brent’s Drugs - This family-friendly, fifties-style diner was originally a drugstore, and its storeroom is now The Apothecary (see Drinks section). Order a classic diner breakfast or try the Greens, Eggs, and Ham with collard greens and thick-cut ham. You might not be able to resist ordering a hand-spun milkshake.
- La Finestra - Chef Tom Ramsey has shown off his culinary chops on several national food competition shows, including The Taste and Guy’s Grocery Games. His creative brunch options include Flounder Toast with mascarpone and cheddar butter, and duck confit with vanilla waffles and green tomato jam.
- Saltine - Double-dipped fried chicken biscuits and wood-fired Gulf Oysters with citrus butter, bacon, and quail eggs are just a couple of tasty choices on the brunch menu.
- Fondren Public – A great place to unwind after a long week, Fondren Public has a beautiful space filled with exposed brick and reclaimed wood. Order snacks, sliders and bites along with one of the 24 beers on tap, which includes several local brews. Bottled beers, ciders, liquor and cocktails are also available, and the large patio accommodates a group easily. There are games, too: bocce ball, shuffleboard and arcade games.
- The Apothecary – This small speakeasy-style bar is nestled in the back of Brent’s Drugs in Fondren (see Casual Dining). Try a pre-Prohibition era prescription cocktail or order a non-alcoholic cocktail from the Temperance menu. Don’t miss happy hour, where cocktails are only $6 each. On the bar menu, try the tater tots with a variety of housemade dipping sauces.
- The Library at the Fairview Inn – Sink into a good book and tuck into a drink at the cozy Library. This is the perfect place to experience Mississippi charm, with shelves lined with books by Mississippi literary greats and cocktails named after their authors. Check out the bar menu with creative small plates.
- Fenian’s – This classic Irish pub offers exactly what you’d expect: live music, good drinks, and great shepherd’s pie. Go for karaoke on Mondays and Irish music on Thursdays, often with Irish dancing.
- Caet - This wine bar is a companion to Walker’s Drive-Inn, located right around the corner, and you can choose from the extensive wine list at Caet while waiting for a table at Walker’s. You can also enjoy a meal of small plates, including charcuterie and lamb sliders.
- Deep South Pops and Pop Culture - These two new family-owned businesses have brought the gourmet popsicle craze to Jackson. Deep South Pops has a beautiful space with plenty of seating and serves coffee and craft beer (try a beer float). Pop Culture has a stand in front of Fondren’s Capri Theatre and also frequents events around Jackson. Both sell $3 pops made with fresh, local ingredients and will keep you coming back for more.
- La Brioche - You’ll be hard pressed to choose among the options: delicate pastries, decadent gelato, or colorful French macarons.
- Mississippi Farmers Market – Thursdays and Saturdays on High Street in downtown Jackson.
- Old Farmers Market – Monday through Saturday on Woodrow Wilson Avenue.
- Aladdin Grocery – Open seven days a week on Lakeland Drive next to Aladdin Mediterranean Grill.
- Mr. Chen’s – This authentic Chinese restaurant and market offers a huge variety seven days a week located off of I-55.
- Rainbow Grocery – All natural grocery store with organic produce and bulk bins full of spices, located in the heart of the Fondren District.
To explore where to eat around the rest of the state, see our Food & Drink section!
2015 Tunica Resort VIP Giveaway Sweepstakes
Enter now for a chance to win the 2015 Tunica Resort VIP Giveaway sweepstakes! The winner will ...
Enter now for a chance to win the 2015 Tunica Resort VIP Giveaway sweepstakes! The winner will receive a trip for two, including a two-night stay at a Tunica casino resort, a fine dining dinner for two, four buffet passes, two tickets to the Gateway to the Blues Museum, and $400 in gaming chips.
You and a guest will enjoy the experience of Tunica casinos and resorts, choosing from eight world-class casinos offering resort-level accommodations.
As part of the Mississippi Delta, Tunica hums with proud, southern heritage and timeless traditions. The city is located at the top of the Delta and is the gateway to the blues experience. It's brimming with stunning attractions that bring Mississippi culture, music and history to life.
Some other can't miss opportunities include historic downtown Tunica, two championship-level golf courses, biking and fishing, outlet mall and boutique shopping, and true southern style food.
You’ll discover you have everything you need for the perfect getaway at the South’s premier gaming and family vacation destination… And all you have to do to win this free trip is register here!
Hobbyist to Corporate Artist
When you are on the right path, opportunities present themselves everywhere you look. I started ...
When you are on the right path, opportunities present themselves everywhere you look.
I started painting seriously in the summer of 2014. In the last year, I have started showing my work in a local gallery and a large corporate office. Participation in pop-up shows and other temporary shows has helped promote my work. Commissions of my paintings can be found in a modern Jackson salon and several local restaurant locations.
The Jackson community has been overwhelmingly supportive of my work. This month, I am doing a live painting demonstration during Fondren’s First Thursday at Fondren Art Gallery. You can see my most recent work on display as part of the Cedars Juried Art Show.
My painterly style can be described as loosely realistic or whimsical. Idealized still life and landscape are my primary subject matter. I like a painting to look like a painting. By that I mean that I like to see the brushstrokes and layers of paint rising off a canvas. Examples of my work and contact information can be found at www.emilycatesabree.com.
The transition from hobbyist to being a part of the Mississippi creative economy has been rapid and sometimes
turbulent. Rapid because of the influx of commissions and shows to prepare for, and turbulent because I often have more work than I think I can handle. (Somehow, it always get finished!) I want to encourage other creative types to promote themselves because opportunities abound in our state. You just have to ask, collaborate with other creatives, and participate in local events to get your work noticed and start getting commissions. From my perspective, our state is hungry for local art and I am excited to see what my second year as a ‘working artist’ brings.
Corporate art commissions are the focus of my efforts in the state of Mississippi because of the expansion of small businesses. Barefield Workplace Solutions in downtown Jackson provided my first opportunity to experiment with corporate art. Owner Paul Maczka encouraged me to display examples of my work in his gorgeous, loft-like office space. These examples can be customized for his client base. Ryan Patrick of the Pizza Shack reports that my work is often a conversation piece in his new Madison and Byram restaurant locations. Ryan commissioned me to do a series of fifteen paintings for each of the new restaurants. The work features his favorite ingredients and promotes a warm, inviting space where customers will want to return again and again. Suzanne Moak of S’Moak Salon added a large modern painting that completely transformed a small work station. Promoting and supporting each other gives us pride in our Mississippi communities and adds a local flavor that can’t be replicated.
Encouragement and support from friends and family has been key to my efforts so far, but broader community support of the arts will keep me painting. If you are a small business owner, shop local for your decor!
MasterChef To Hold Casting Call in Jackson
MasterChef, the popular cooking competition show on FOX, will be casting for its seventh season on ...
MasterChef, the popular cooking competition show on FOX, will be casting for its seventh season on Saturday, October 3rd, in Jackson. Auditions will be held from 10am-6pm at The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown 235 W Capitol Street.
Talented home cooks are invited to audition. Previous competitors have included stay-at-home moms, doctors, hunters, janitors, lawyers, teachers, truck drivers, and ex-professional athletes. Two past competitors have hailed from Jackson.
The winner of each season receives a $250,000 grand prize, his or her own cookbook, and a MasterChef trophy.
See below for information on how to audition at the open casting call. If you are unable to attend an open casting call, you may submit a video application. Details on how to audition for MasterChef here.
Open Casting Calls
Casting Calls are coming soon to a city near you! Come and meet the MasterChef Casting Team for your chance to be on the show!
You MUST bring one prepared dish to be served to our food judges.
You will be given 3 minutes to plate your dish at the casting call location, but there will NOT be a kitchen to cook or warm your dish up so come prepared!
Check the FAQs LINK (frequently asked questions) for additional casting questions. We can’t wait to meet you!
If you are planning to attend an OPEN CASTING CALL, you are strongly encouraged to follow the instructions HERE:
1. Pre-register your profile and pick your open call location in advance- PRE-REGISTER HERE.
2. Download the application form HERE and bring it with you to an open call.
3. Bring your food/ingredients to be finished and plated once you enter the audition room. NOTE: There will NOT be a kitchen to cook or warm up your dish so come prepared! Also, we will NOT supply you with dishes, utensils, etc., so you must bring your own.
PLEASE NOTE, IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE PRE-REGISTERING, YOU CAN STILL ATTEND AN OPEN CASTING CALL – JUST BRING YOUR SIGNATURE DISH!
Read more on the MasterChef casting website.
Mississippi Homegrown: Watermelon Cooler
Summer is winding down, but the growing season isn’t. To produce the sugar necessary for ...
Summer is winding down, but the growing season isn’t. To produce the sugar necessary for sweet fruit, melons need hot weather, which can last through the month of October in Mississippi. Melons, peaches, plums, and tomatoes are riper and sweeter than ever! Relish the last few weekends of our warmest weather poolside with this refreshing, and family-friendly, Watermelon Cooler.
2 cups lemonade
3 cups seedless watermelon, coarsely chopped
1 cup crushed ice
In a blender, combine all ingredients. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Recipe courtesy of Friends of the Crosby Memorial Library Heritage Cookbook, Picayune, Miss.
Neon Pig in Tupelo Wins "Best Burger in America"
Tupelo is notable not only for being the birthplace of Elvis—the north Mississippi town is ...
Tupelo is notable not only for being the birthplace of Elvis—the north Mississippi town is also the home of the best burger in the country.
This week, readers of popular food, drink, and travel site Thrillist.com voted The Neon Pig Cafe’s Famous Smash burger the “Best Burger in America.”
The Neon Pig is an old-school butcher shop, fresh seafood shop, and food bar founded in 2012 and co-owned by three partners. Trish McCluney oversees the business operations and marketing, and Mitch McCamey and Seth Copeland are the chefs.
“We break down our own cows, pigs, chickens, and lambs. We make our own bacon and use Benton’s bacon,” said McCluney. ”We make our own buns for three of our sandwiches, pickle our own veggies, and make our own sauces and dry rubs. Basically, almost everything is made in-house and is as local as possible.”
After the Thrillist staff had sampled burgers around the country, it notified The Neon Pig in February that the cafe had won Best Burger in Mississippi. The Neon Pig went on to participate in a March Madness style bracket to compete for Best Burger in America.
Altogether, 27,000 Thrillist readers from 65 countries voted in the competition that included eateries in food-centric cities like Chicago and Austin. In the end, there were two finalists: The Neon Pig and Causwells in San Francisco. To boost votes, The Neon Pig created a #SmashtheVote social media campaign and held a voting party. It finished late Sunday night with 56.47% of the vote.
“We are so grateful and humbled by the support we received from the community,” said McCluney. “We want to thank everyone who voted for us from far and wide.”
So what makes the Famous Smash so good? This is how Thrillist describes it:
“The aged filet, ribeye, strip steak, sirloin, and Benton’s bacon blend gets a dose of savory hoisin and tangy Mississippi comeback sauce, plus melted cheddar, pickled onions, pickles, and more of that smoky bacon. It all goes on a hefty ciabatta bun that’s built to soak up all those delicious juices.”
The honor of competing for the Best Burger in America has already driven up The Neon Pig's sales. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported that in four days, the cafe sold more than 2,000 burgers and sold out of its burger for the first time in its three-year history.
Try the Famous Smash burger yourself: The Neon Pig is located at 1203 N. Gloster Street in Tupelo, open daily Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm. Browse the menu at http://neonpig.net.
Photo credit of the Famous Smash: Lauren Wood / The 'Sip.
3 Thrills for the Budget Conscious Family
The dollar goes a long way in Mississippi, so we’re the perfect people to visit if ...
The dollar goes a long way in Mississippi, so we’re the perfect people to visit if you’re looking for more fun and less spending. Below are our three top suggestions for budget thrills for the whole family.
LeFleur's Bluff provides a lush green spot in the heart of urban Jackson. In addition to camping, fishing, picnic spots, and nature trails, the 305-acre park features a nine-hole golf course and a driving range. Enjoy fishing on 30-acre Mayes Lake, wildlife viewing, a 1-mile hiking trail, 2 playground areas, 9-hole golf course, 18-hole disc golf. See rates here, including $3 per vehicle, $13 for primitive camping, and $18 for regular camping. Reservations are highly recommended.
Buccaneer State Park was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina but beautifully restored and reopened in 2013. The star of the 400-acre green space bordering the Gulf of Mexico is the half-million gallon wave pool. Admission is $3 per car; tickets are $13 for children under 48 inches and $19 for those over 48 inches -- around half the price of other water parks. Disc golf, playground, camping, and nature trail also available.
Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Tishomingo State Park is steeped in history and scenic beauty. Available are picnic areas with tables and grills, disc golf courses, compass course, hiking trails, playgrounds, multi-use field, volleyball court, and a swimming pool. Canoe trips and fishing are available on Bear Creek. Haynes Lake, a 45 acre fresh water lake, is available for fishing.The park also has the best rock faces in the state, with options for beginners and experts by permit. There are more than 100 documented climbing routes, ranging from 20-foot pitches to the 60-foot Jean’s Overhang.
Mississippi Book Festival Announces Author Line-Up
Plans for the inaugural Mississippi Book Festival are well underway, and organizers confirm that ...
Plans for the inaugural Mississippi Book Festival are well underway, and organizers confirm that the festival line-up includes John Grisham, Greg Iles, Bill Ferris, and Ellen Gilchrist among the more than 70 authors participating.
Holly Lange, Executive Director of the Mississippi Book Festival, shares, “We are thrilled that John Grisham will be joining a great group of Mississippi authors in Mississippi’s inaugural Book Festival. He has taken an active interest in the success of this event and plans on appearing at the festival throughout the day. Because Mississippi is so rich with writers, we have assembled authors from a wide range of subjects that will appeal to every Mississippian.”
The Book Festival line-up includes authors signing their books and covering topics such as history, short stories, poetry, civil rights, romance, sports & outdoors, children’s stories, biography, literary fiction, southern popular fiction, comics, and the civil war.
The festival will conclude with a panel that includes Greg Iles, an early supporter of the event. Iles’ new book, The Bone Tree, has received national critical acclaim.
John Evans, owner of Lemuria Books in Jackson, has been a guiding hand in the planning process. Says Evans, “Mississippi’s literary contributions have enhanced our state and national culture. Our great writers are household names; many of their stories are our stories. But before great writers put pen to paper, they were first great readers.”
The event will also celebrate the state’s independent booksellers. All of the state’s independent booksellers have been invited to participate as exhibitors, selling books and merchandise throughout the day. Additionally, self-published authors have the opportunity to participate as well.
A full listing of panels and authors can be found at www.msbookfestival.com.
For more on Mississippi art and literature, visit our See & Do section.
8 Unusual Mississippi Foods You Must Try
Mississippi is arguably home to some of the country’s best food, and, especially to ...
Mississippi is arguably home to some of the country’s best food, and, especially to non-southerners, also some of the country’s weirdest food. We’ve gathered a list of some Mississippi traditions that may sound a little strange at first. Don’t be afraid to taste outside the box. We’re sure you’ll find something on this list you’ll want to take home with you!
Considered a staple food in the South, grits are made from ground corn and are of Native-American origin. Although commonly eaten at breakfast accompanied by butter and cheese, grits are now infiltrating lunch and dinner and have become a real show-stopper. Some common Mississippi recipes are shrimp and grits, grits and grillades, and even deep fried grits.
Standard fare in the Mississippi Delta region, these sweet and salty pickles are a treat on a hot summer day. The task of making Koolickles is a simple one: drain the brine from a jar of pickles, add in a pack of Kool-Aid and a cup of sugar, and return the brine to jar. Refridgerate until cold.
Many hypothesize that tamales made their way to the Mississippi Delta in the early twentieth century when migrant laborers were brought in from Mexico to work the cotton harvest. In Mississippi, no two people make hot tamales exactly the same. Pork is traditional. Some folks use beef, while others prefer turkey. Some people use masa, while most prefer the rough texture of corn meal. Some eat theirs straight out of the shuck, while others smother them in chili and cheese. As it turns out, there are as many stories about how Deltans acquired tamale recipes as there are ways of making them. Check out Mississippi's Hot Tamale Trail for more ideas.
4. Peanuts and Coke
Exactly what it sounds like. Crack open a cold Coca-Cola, preferably in a glass bottle, and add a handful of salted, roasted and shelled peanuts. The two combine into a perfectly sweet and salty combination that also doubles as an afternoon snack.
5. Pig Ear Sandwich
With the flavor and consistency of bacon, this chewy and crunchy sandwich has been through four generations of Jackson, Mississippi’s Lee family. The Big Apple Inn has welcomed patrons for more than 100 years in their downtown location. The ear is cooked to perfect temperature, slathered with spicy mustard, and slapped between two soft buns for a truly down-home, Mississippi experience. Another popular item on their menu is “the smokes”, a smoked sausage sandwich.
6. The Slugburger
According to Mississippi legend, the term “slugburger” comes from the slang word for nickel. This deep-fried burger is made up of two ground meats, usually beef and pork, and an extender of soy grits. Visit Slugburger Café in Corinth for the total experience.
These deep-fried balls of cornmeal, flour, milk, sugar and onion usually accompany Mississippi’s signature dish: fried catfish. The batter is mixed well and dropped a spoonful at a time into hot oil. The bread is fried until crispy golden brown, then cooled.
8. Biscuits and Gravy
This typical southern breakfast is sure to fill your stomach. Often served during the colder months, Mississippians bake fresh, from-scratch biscuits and top them with a white, flour-based gravy, sometimes called sawmill gravy, and freshly ground black pepper. Many add ground pork sausage to the gravy. Some even make a chocolate version, using cocoa, flour, milk, sugar, and vanilla.
Find much more on Mississippi food, restaurants and bars.