Food & Drink

Mississippi cuisine defies categorization. And, in some cases, it defies imagination. From catfish to comeback sauce, from tamales to traditional Southern sweets, from shrimp to slugburgers to sweet potatoes, Mississippi's culinary heritage has food to please every palate. Our state is home to James Beard award-winning chefs and noted national food writers, as well as some of the best home cooks and out-of-the way diners to be found anywhere.


Food & Drink

Food and drink are at the core of Mississippi culture and history. There’s a saying around here: “Food brings people together at the community table.” We find great joy in sharing the Mississippi story through the heirloom recipes, family-owned restaurants and farm-to-table menus full of our most celebrated dishes. Whether you’re seeking authentic Delta-style hot tamales, an upscale twist on Southern cuisine, or a sampling of Mississippi craft brews or a sip of sweet tea, the next meal always holds something special for you. Let your cravings drive you from the glorious seafood of the Gulf Coast, north to the tempting barbeque huts along the highways and the catfish joints and steak houses in between. Leave room for mile-high meringue on fresh coconut pie, melt-in-your-mouth pimento cheese spread and fresh greens smothered in our one-of-a-kind comeback salad dressing.


Restaurants & Bars

Restaurants & Bars

Mississippi restaurants have a reputation for down-home Southern cooking, fine dining and everything in between. In Oxford, you can have a Southern blue plate lunch, followed by an upscale dinner at a restaurant on the Square. Be sure to sample the culinary offerings in Jackson, whether you’re looking for fine dining, barbecue or food truck fare. Don’t miss a stop in Hattiesburg to try the chef’s tasting menu at a restaurant run by beloved chef Robert St. John. Make your way to the coast and enjoy seafood caught fresh from the Gulf at the restaurants on the Mississippi Seafood Trail. Throughout the state, you’ll find a variety of places to raise a glass, including pubs, sports bars and upscale lounges. Cheers!

Bakeries & Cafes

Bakeries & Cafes

Let us show you our Southern hospitality at one of the locally owned bakeries and cafes throughout the state. Sip your morning coffee and snack on a warm pastry while you leisurely read the news. For lunch, order a sandwich piled high with fresh ingredients, often sourced from local farmers and served on bread baked in-house. And before you wave goodbye to the friendly staff, treat yourself to a Southern sweet like a chess square, peach cobbler or red velvet cake.

Craft Beer

Craft Beer

Mississippi’s flagship craft brewery, Lazy Magnolia, has set the standard for excellence in the state’s rapidly growing craft beer scene. Now that Mississippi is home to nine great breweries, visitors can find local beer on tap in most any locale, and better yet, can tour the facilities of this “hopping” industry. A majority of Mississippi’s breweries have repurposed architectural gems from the Southern landscape as their headquarters, making it easy to explore Main Street while you sip a fine local ale, porter or IPA. Explore the Mississippi Brewery Trail to learn more about the unique craft beers and personalities that make up this delicious industry. You can map your own Mississippi brew trail here.

 

Culinary Trail

Culinary Trail

Mississippi is a true melting pot of regional, ethnic, national and international cuisine. Deep in the Pines region of east central Mississippi, Native American cooking is still thriving, as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians preserve many of their traditional customs. In the northeastern corner of the state, Slugburgers, unique to Corinth, are believed to date back to the Depression era, when a cornmeal extender was used to “beef up” the quantity of meat. This local creation remains a fixture on the menu at Borroum's Drug Store (ca. 1865), and is the inspiration for the annual Slugburger Festival.

Throughout the state, the influence of African-American cooking is found at every turn. Dating back to the days of slavery, what has come to be known and loved nationally as “soul food” runs through virtually all culinary styles. Traditional Southern fare such as barbeque, comfort food and sweet tea round out a style of cooking that Mississippi can truly call its own.

While we’re proud of our own home-grown culinary favorites, there’s also room at the table for fresh ideas from around the world. In the early twentieth century, migrant workers from Mexico left their mark on the Mississippi Delta with the ever-popular tamale. Italians, Chinese, Lebanese and other immigrants also reshaped the course of Mississippi cuisine. In Jackson, the Greek influx of the mid-twentieth century remains a dominant force on the local restaurant scene. Along the Gulf Coast, newcomers from Croatia, Italy and Vietnam settled in to enrich and expand upon our traditional Gulf seafood dishes.

The Mississippi Culinary Trail showcases the state’s true flavor.  Each of the five regions has its own delicacies like hot tamales, slug burgers and comeback sauce. Whether you are a first-time visitor, a local who is looking to discover something new or a road trip junkie who has been through a million times – pull up a chair, put a napkin in your lap and get ready for an unrivaled eating experience. 

The Culinary Trail itineraries work their way around the state highlighting each region’s restaurants, cooks and food traditions that exemplify Mississippi’s distinctive cuisine.  

Delta

As diverse as the crops that grow here and the music that made it famous, the Mississippi Delta is a melting pot of cultures – from African to Italian to Asian, the people here make this part of the state different from any other.  And no place makes the Delta’s diversity more apparent or celebrated than its restaurants.  Each dish is a prime example of how delicious histories come together for the ultimate culinary experience.  

Capital-River

Mississippi’s Capital-River Region is a delicious blend of old and new.  From a mighty river and antebellum mansions to glittering downtowns with exciting nightlife, restaurants here boast menus featuring soul food, authentic ethnic dishes and modern culinary delights.  Personalities like Cool Al and places called Fat Mama’s are why the eclectic heritage of Mississippi is one of its most celebrated treats. It’s the tastiest history lesson you’ve ever had.  

Pines

The small towns of the Pines make for big flavors.  With barbecue and bakeries, cheese and cheesecakes, the tastes of this region take their influences from their earthy Native American heritage as well as the vital railroad lines that brought lumber, cotton and other goods into the area.  Family-owned restaurants are a staple of this region, and when you can stroll down a street known as “Catfish Alley,” you know you’ll find good cookin’!  

Hills

Characters in Southern fiction gather around tables laden with platters of their favorite dishes, and in the Hills region of the state, home to William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams, you will find platters of fried chicken, skillets of cornbread, and delicacies such as pecan pie.  Even today, a meal in the Mississippi Hills doesn't just feed the body - it ministers to your soul.  

Coast

Naturally, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has a different feel to it than the rest of the state, but it remains undeniably “Mississippi.”  The Coast offers the tourist a little of everything:  golf, gambling, art, architecture, and, of course, great food. Years ago, immigrants from all over the world came to the region in search of employment in the seafood industry: Croatian, Vietnamese and French.  This delicious blend of cultures has seasoned the cuisine here with a flavor you won’t find anywhere else.

Before you visit a Culinary Trail destination, we recommend that you call to confirm that its location and hours of operation are current.

Hot Tamale Trail

Hot Tamale Trail

Visitors to Mississippi find a welcome and unexpected treat in the Hot Tamale Trail, which winds its way through the Mississippi Delta region from Vicksburg to Tunica. The tamale has been a staple of the Delta region for over 100 years, which began with an influx of migrant workers — and their recipes — from Mexico. The people behind this flavorful, labor-intensive dish are legends in their own time and keep a place of almost regal stature among diners from across the globe. If you’re looking for a vacation that your taste buds won’t soon forget, simply follow the Hot Tamale Trail to the South’s most authentic tamale shops.

Southern Cooking

Southern Cooking

To paraphrase an old saying, “Give a man Mississippi cooking and you feed him for a day; teach a man Mississippi cooking, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Cooking in our state is an art unto itself, and our practitioners are always happy to share their techniques with visitors. You may find yourself bellied-up to the stacks of oral histories, documentary photographs and films produced by the Oxford-based Southern Foodways Alliance, or seated before a master roux maker in the Mary C. O’Keefe Culinary Center in Ocean Springs. Or, you may discover your culinary genius after a day at the Viking Cooking School in Greenwood, where French-trained chefs share tips and secrets ranging from how to make the most complex sauces to simple ways to keep pasta from sticking to the pot. Feed the mind. Feed the body. Better yet, do both at once when you visit Mississippi.

 




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