The authentic flavor of Mississippi begins with our unforgettable food. From sophisticated Southern fine dining to downhome comfort food and spicy one-of-a-kind dishes, there’s something for every taste. Savor the journey, and you’ll soon be back for a second helping

 

DON’T LEAVE UNTIL YOU TRY

BURGERS AND SLUGBURGERS

HILLS

Corinth is home to a famous sandwich with a funny name. First created during the Great Depression when it cost a mere nickel—or a “slug”—the SLUGBURGER consists of beef plus an extender such as cornmeal or soy meal. These deep-fried concoctions are still served at the WHITE TROLLEY CAFÉ and the SLUGBURGER CAFÉ in Corinth and celebrated each summer at the local SLUGBURGER FESTIVAL.

Save room for a savory “Smash Burger” at NEON PIG in Tupelo and Oxford. The patty made with filet mignon, New York strip and bacon was named the best burger in America by Thrillist.com.

CRAWFISH

COASTAL

Crawfish is king of spring, a seasonal seafood superstar. TARANTO’S CRAWFISH HOUSE in Biloxi specializes in this mouthwatering “mudbug” with options ranging from po-boys to classic boiled crawfish with a spicy kick. The waterfront grounds of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi are home to the annual CRAWFISH MUSIC FESTIVAL each spring, combining performances by national artists with plenty of boiled crawfish in a casual carnival atmosphere.

 

DELTA

Fans swear by the steamed crawfish platter at CRAWDAD’S in Merigold, which treats the crawfish like the mini lobster it resembles.

TAMALES

Something spicy is going on in Mississippi, where hot tamales are as popular and traditional as they are south of the border.

There’s even an official HOT TAMALE TRAIL created by the Southern Foodways Alliance to highlight these hot spots; find it at southernfoodways.org.

DELTA

At HICKS’ FAMOUS HOT TAMALES in Clarksdale, Eugene Hicks uses a halfcentury-old secret recipe to handcraft his tamales. AIRPORT GROCERY in Cleveland opened more than 25 years ago with a mission of honoring the region’s tamale tradition, and diners say the hand-rolled recipe is a hit.

CAPITAL/RIVER

For nearly 30 years, patrons have packed into FAT MAMA’S TAMALES in Natchez for award-winning cornhusk-wrapped tamales and signature “Knock-You-Naked” margaritas.

COASTAL

Dive into DORIS’ HOT TAMALES in D’Iberville, a tiny roadside stand serving up unforgettable family recipe tamales since 1976.

 

SWEET TEA

CAPITAL/RIVER

There’s no better way to cool off on a warm Southern day than with a tall glass of sweet iced tea, and the tea at the Brookhaven and McComb eatery BROMA’S DELI is tops, according to voters in a Mississippi Magazine poll.

HILLS

In Tupelo, you can be sure you’ll find a great glass of sweet tea at the restaurant that put the drink in its name, SWEET TEA & BISCUITS CAFÉ, a family operation focusing on offering Southern favorites.

 

COFFEE BREAK

CAPITAL/RIVER

An espresso bar housed in an 1886 cabin attracts coffee connoisseurs to STEAMPUNK COFFEE ROASTERS in Natchez, home to a massive Italian copper espresso maker that inspired the hotspot’s name.

PINES

Carefully crafted cups of award-winning coffee, combined with goodies from an in-house pastry chef, make 929 COFFEE BAR in Starkville much more than a java joint.

 

DELTA

Downtown Cleveland is home to MISSISSIPPI GROUNDS, where caffeine lovers get their fill of favorite specialty coffee drinks like the “Cotton Boll” inside a building that was once a service station.

BRUNCH IT UP

HILLS

James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur John Currence’s BIG BAD BREAKFAST in Oxford takes morning mealtime to a whole new level, with savory sensations like the Creole hash.

COASTAL

Brunch is a symphony of fine flavors at THE CHIMNEYS in Gulfport, where every brunch entrée—from classic Eggs Benedict to Trout and Eggs Sardou—is served with a glass of Champagne befitting the elegant atmosphere.

PINES

Standout savory and sweet entrées, all made with ingredients sourced from nearby farms, make RESTAURANT TYLER in Starkville a memorable Sunday brunch destination.

DESSERTS TO DIE FOR

DELTA

The CRYSTAL GRILL in Greenwood serves mile-high meringue pies, drawing diners from all around the region. STUB’S RESTAURANT in Yazoo City has perfected the chocolate chess pie, with a flavor almost sinfully sweet.

HILLS

For a small-town bakery, SUGAREE’S in New Albany has hit the big time, with its cream cheese pound cake making Oprah’s list of favorite gifts in O Magazine.

PINES

WEIDMANN’S in Meridian has been satisfying sweet tooths since 1870, with its most popular dinner finale being the famed Black Bottom Pie, a chocolate and custard confection proclaimed by travel expert Peter Greenberg as the best in the world.

COASTAL

All hail the king cakes at PAUL’S PASTRY in Picayune. This not-just-in-New-Orleans Mardi Gras-inspired treat is available from the bakery year round in a variety of flavors.

Fine Fare Faves

PINES

The speakeasy-style setting of THE GUEST ROOM in Starkville lends an air of secrecy to this cocktail bar and restaurant, but word is out that this is a can’t miss experience, complete with an impressive list of signature cocktails to complement the locally-sourced menu. PHILLIP M’S at the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw is known for its fresh seafood dishes and award-winning wine list, all in a sleek upscale atmosphere.

DELTA

An old-world vibe thrives at GIARDINA’S, a culinary fixture in downtown Greenwood since 1936 welcoming guests to cozy up inside curtained booths. For an intimate meal after an evening of gaming excitement, check out the filet mignon or Wagyu short ribs at CHICAGO STEAKHOUSE inside Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica.

CAPITAL/RIVER

James Beard Award semifinalist chef Derek Emerson dishes out the ultimate Southern combination of upscale, locally farmed fare in a casual atmosphere at WALKER’S DRIVE-IN in Jackson. Just north, Emerson’s LOCAL 463 in Ridgeland offers sophisticated Southern comfort food ranging from rabbit sausage gnocchi to roasted pork belly steam buns.

The lively environs at RUSTY’S RIVERFRONT GRILL in Vicksburg allow diners to kick back in comfort with favorite dishes like the blackened redfish or classic ribeye.

COASTAL

The classic American steakhouse gets an enlightened upgrade at BR PRIME, located inside Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi. MARY MAHONEY’S OLD FRENCH HOUSE in Biloxi is a local legend for good reason. This seafood heavy hotspot in a 1737 home has been visited by celebrities and dignitaries who know where to find a fantastic meal.

WORDLY DISHES

COASTAL

Experience a taste of old-world Greece at PHOENICIA GOURMET RESTAURANT in Ocean Springs, where the chef’s specialties include delicately fried falafels and charbroiled rack of lamb perfumed with Middle Eastern spices. JUTAMAS THAI RESTAURANT in Hattiesburg is the winner of a statewide award for its authentic dishes—the pineapple fried rice is a must-try—bringing the fresh flavors of the Far East to the Deep South.

If it’s the spices of India you’re after, try ORCHID INDIAN CUISINE in Gulfport, where diners travel from all over the region to enjoy the tandoori chicken, kadai fish and other memorable dishes.

PINES

Winner of multiple awards for the state’s best sushi, UMI JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE & SUSHI BAR has locations in Columbus and Starkville for fans of specialty rolls and sizzling hibachi dishes.

CAPITAL/RIVER

The warm pitas are pure perfection at KEIFER’S in Jackson, where a gyro or Grecian salad lunch on the breezy porch is a popular pastime for locals and visitors alike.

Classic French bistro ANJOU RESTAURANT in Ridgeland is run by a French-born father and daughter who serve savory beignets, quiches and light-as-air crepes.

OLD-FASHIONED FAVES

CAPITAL/RIVER

Lunch at WALNUT HILLS RESTAURANT in Vicksburg is an only-in-Mississippi experience, with Southern favorites served family style on revolving round tables inside an 1880 home. Since 1946, patrons have been sipping shakes and savoring burgers at BRENT’S DRUGS in Jackson’s historic Fondren district. The revitalized soda fountain still retains its original charm and was featured in the hit film The Help.

HILLS

Have a spin on the old bar stools at TURNAGE DRUG STORE in Water Valley, home to a soda fountain with heavenly milkshakes, a well-stocked gift department, and a pharmacy that’s been in operation since 1905. If you’re hankering for an ice cream treat after dark, you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the brightly colored neon lights of VELVET CREAM in Hernando, affectionately known by locals as “The Dip.” The walk-up burger and ice cream stand opened in 1947 and is as popular as ever. It’s fitting that JOHNNIE’S DRIVE-IN in Tupelo is filled with Elvis memorabilia, since this 1945-built diner was a regular hangout for the singer before he made it big. Fans flock here to sit in his favorite booth.

PINES

What began as a humble food market in 1936 became the famed restaurant now known as ANTHONY’S GOOD FOOD MARKET in West Point. Every Wednesday is “Blues Night,” when the eatery’s Cajun and Creole dishes are served alongside great live music.

NEW SPOTS WORTH A TRY

COASTAL

THE RACK HOUSE STEAKS & SPIRITS in Gulfport is equal parts old-school American steakhouse and hip new place to get a drink. The bourbon list features more than 100 varieties, and the restaurant’s Bourbon Society is a members-only mezzanine with leather couches and exclusive libation samplings.

HILLS

Whether it’s early morning or late night, FILL-UP WITH BILLUPS in Oxford is serious about breakfast; the service-station motif mixes well with hearty fare including locally grown-and-ground grits, the fluffiest waffles and a host of hip bloody Marys. This popular restaurant has also opened locations in Madison and along the Coast.

CAPITAL/RIVER

“Damn fine burgers”—there are five unique options to choose from—are the stars at FINE & DANDY in Jackson, which also boasts a strong craft cocktail game in a sleek and modern setting.

OLD GROCERIES AND ROADSIDE STANDS

HILLS

In-the-know diners patiently wait on an old front porch in the tiny town of Taylor, just outside Oxford, to get a taste of the world-famous fried catfish at TAYLOR GROCERY, which began as a grocery store more than a century ago before switching its focus to seafood in 1977.

PINES

The WILLIAMS BROTHERS general store first opened in Philadelphia in 1907 and still offers everything from shoes and clothing to sliced-toorder bacon and old-fashioned hoop cheese to visitors who travel here from all over the country

CAPITAL/RIVER

A colorful but unassuming roadside produce stand surprises visitors with its alter ego, a hearty Southern café. At THE TOMATO PLACE in Vicksburg, the signature fried green tomato BLT is not to be missed.

H.D. GIBBES & SONS in the tiny community of Learned is an old general store turned dining destination that offers live music, expertly cooked steaks and a buttermilk pie that has diners raving.

See More Features