Slide Down the Slugburger Trail

First, let’s get one thing out of the way—a slugburger is not what the name suggests.

This peculiar-sounding staple of northeast Mississippi cuisine dates to the Great Depression, when locals began adding extenders to meat. The patties, made of mixtures of soy, flour, pork and beef, were fried in oil and sandwiched between two pieces of bread. They often sold for a nickel, then commonly called a “slug.” Also known as doughburgers, today you’ll find them in diners throughout the region served on a white bun with pickles, chopped onion and mustard.

Fascination with slugburgers reaches fever pitch at the annual Slugburger Festival in Corinth, named one of America’s “Wackiest Summer Events” by Trip Advisor. And the surprises go beyond the marquee fried food. Hit singer Trent Harmon from nearby Amory performed at the festival before winning “American Idol,” and this year you’ll find Widespread Panic alum and Vicksburg native George McConnell playing with Americana singer-songwriter Cary Hudson.

Weeks Diner, Booneville

Tracing the history of the slugburger can be tricky, but most locals agree that John Weeks was the first person to make and sell them after moving to Corinth from Chicago in 1917. Today, his descendant Willie Weeks carries on the tradition at Weeks Diner, just down the highway in Booneville.

If you go:

100 Mill Street, Booneville

Call 662-720-2151 for hours

Latham’s Hamburger Inn, New Albany

Pull up a stool to the lunch counter in this narrow, shotgun-style diner and order a doughburger cooked to a crispy dark brown in a cast-iron skillet on a 1928 griddle. Watch here as the Travel Channel and John T. Edge, founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance, visit Latham’s for a taste.

If you go:

106 Main St W, New Albany

Slugburger Café, Corinth

It’s all in the name at the Slugburger Café. Each day begins with preparing the staple ingredients for the namesake burger, including 50 lbs. of onions, before shipping them out the door for call-in orders or to the customers who line the counter.

If you go:

3000 Highway 72 W, Corinth

Call 662-287-1311 for hours

Borroum’s Drugstore, Corinth

At the oldest drug store in continuous operation in Mississippi, you can get refreshed at the original soda fountain with malted milkshakes, ice cream floats, cherry phosphates and sodas while the family prepares slugburgers in the back. The historic building dates to 1843 and was constructed with handmade bricks.

If you go:

604 Waldron Street, Corinth

Call 662-286-3361 for hours

White Trolley Café, Corinth

This diner opens early for breakfast and runs right through the lunch and dinner rushes with its own spin on the classic slugburger. Like most other slugburger-serving restaurants, they also serve a beef burger—but you have to be specific if you want it.

If you go:

1215 Highway 72 E, Corinth

Call 662-287-4593 for hours