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There are a lot of great things about the state of Mississippi and one those is the food. With local fare that is both satisfying and hearty, Mississippi has a lot to brag about. From delicious local seafood to southern-style concoctions you’ll only find in the south, trying Mississippi cuisine is a must. The Magnolia State offers a number of culinary escapes thanks to southern staples like seafood, barbeque, and creole cuisine.
Food lovers will love the selection of mouthwatering cuisine available on every corner of the coast. Tear into steak topped with fresh crabmeat, opt for the blackened redfish, or order an oyster po’ boy on freshly baked bread. So, head on down to the Gulf Coast and have something sautéed, fried, basted, broiled, blackened, or baked. And it will be something you’ll never forget.
The Gulf Coast area is not short on restaurants serving po’ boys. But, if you want to experience the perfect po’ boy, you must be selective. There is one important thing to remember about po’ boys, it’s pretty hard to find a bad po’ boy on the Gulf Coast. The bread is the most important part of this popular sandwich. It must be crispy and flaky on the outside, and incredibly soft on the inside. French bread is used for the perfect po’ boys, anything other than locally made breads simply doesn’t work. The bulk of the sandwich your choice of fried shrimp, catfish, oysters, soft-shell crab, or tender roast beef smothered in gravy. If you want it dressed, add hot sauce, pickles, mayo, lettuce, and tomato.
Feast on the flavors of the Delta and savor foods like tamales, BBQ, fried chicken, pecan pie, corn bread, turnip greens, and sweet tea. If you are hungry, this is definitely the place to be. You will feel as if you have traveled back in time, to a place where you are sitting with family on the front porch on Sunday with a giant plate of food or in an antebellum dining room eating a giant cinnamon roll slathered with icing.
Save some room for dessert when you dine at The Crystal Grill in Greenwood. Shared by Chef Cat Cora as “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” the Lemon Ice Box Pie is a slice of lemon heaven. It is the perfect combination of sweet graham cracker crust, airy lemon filling, two inches of whipped cream topping, and one cup of love.
A trip through the Delta will have you re-imagining your views of southern cooking, you will find many stops styled for modern day foodies and healthy eaters, and stylish bistros welcoming trendy diners. Take along a hefty appetite—a culinary treat awaits you.
Some of the most celebrated chefs and restaurants of the South call Oxford, Mississippi home. Kick off your culinary adventure at Big Bad Breakfast, voted one of the Best Breakfasts Around the World by Travel and Leisure magazine, the menu includes mouthwatering choices, like house cured-Tabasco and brown sugar bacon.
Ajax Diner is extremely popular with locals, tourists, and Eli Manning! Located on the Historic Oxford Square, this restaurant has earned the title of “Best Downhome Soul Food” by Mississippi Magazine for the past three years. Choose from unique southern entrees, like Hot Tamale Pie, and enjoy daily lunch specials.
Top off your tour at City Grocery, the flagship restaurant of James Beard Award winning chef John Currence. City Grocery is a staple of the Oxford dining scene and is the destination of the Who’s Who of visitors. Dine on mouthwatering selections of regional and ethnic cuisine, like Lamb Shank Ragout and Cider & Beer Braised Pork Cheeks.
The Capital-River Region also features its fair share of delicious Southern fare. Check out Jackson for award-winning restaurants owned by Chef Derek Emerson and his wife Jennifer. Soak up Mississippi’s local flavor and take advantage of the southern hospitality at stops like Walker’s Drive In, Caet, Parlor Market, and Local 463.
You will also find plenty of craft beer on tap in the Magnolia state. Down on the coast you will find the Biloxi Brewing Company, Mississippi Brewing Company, and Crooked Letter Brewery. Stop by Lucky Town Brewing Company in Jackson for a tour and taste for yourself what makes it the top craft beer in the state. While you are in downtown Jackson, head over the Cathead Distillery, one of the oldest craft distilleries in the state, for a tour and tasting.
Seafood & Cajun Cuisine on the Coast
Part of the Gulfport-Biloxi metropolitan area, Biloxi is a culinary escape set on the coast of southern Mississippi. Surrounded by coastal icons such as the Biloxi Lighthouse and white-sand beaches, visitors are not only treated to the sights of the Gulf of Mexico, but the taste as well.
Grab lunch at Taranto's Crawfish, PoBoys & Seafood on John Lee Road – where you can combine fresh seafood with the crunch of any type of po’ boy imaginable. Taranto’s is closed on Mondays, but that’s OK – head to the Half Shell Oyster House in downtown Biloxi for their unforgettable seafood pasta, and of course, fresh oysters.
For a traditional Biloxi eatery, head to the Ole Biloxi Schooner for fried crab claws, or Cajun cuisine like gumbo and crawfish. Mouth watering? It should be.
Want a seafood dinner to call your own? Biloxi visitors are encouraged to break out the reel and rod for a day of sportfishing on the coast. Set up shop along the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico and bring in some red drum, king mackerel, and flounder. Anglers can even hook snapper, grouper and shark while fishing around the Mississippi coast.
Homestyle Dining with a Dash of Festivity
Known for fresh oysters and the Natchez Food & Wine Festival, Natchez is an antebellum escape if ever there was one.
Set on the Mississippi Delta in the central part of the state, this river community is found 70 miles northwest of McComb and 100 southwest of Jackson.
Keep in mind, you don’t sit along the Mississippi River without knowing a thing or two about southern cooking.
Biscuits, catfish, fried chicken? This is why we’re here. Try a number of Natchez eateries for the best in southern fare. For a real homestyle meal, stop by Cock Of The Walk Restaurant for the perfect fried menu – and don’t forget to order the catfish.
Another great spot is Mammy’s Cupboard on Highway 61 South – an eatery you can’t miss since it happens to be a 40-foot smiling woman. For a nightcap, head to Biscuit & Blues on Main Street right on the shore of the Mississippi River.
Natchez festivals are also a must-catch. April brings the Natchez Bluff Blues Festival, and treats attendees to the crawfish boil kick-off – as well as a number of Mississippi’s culinary staples. Or visit in July for the Natchez Food & Wine Festival – a collection of southern chefs, brewers and winemakers.
Saucy, Juicy Mississippi Delta
In Mississippi, they know barbeque. Vicksburg – set 40 miles west of Jackson on the eastern Delta in central Mississippi – is a barbeque lover’s paradise.
Head to several barbeque joints in town for pulled pork sandwiches, tender barbeque ribs, and homemade sides.
Stop by Big Bucks Barbeque in nearby Redwood along Old Highway 3, or take a look at the menu at Country Junction along Hwy 61 North. For some “true pit” eats, try Goldie’s Trail Bar-B-Que – a Vicksburg icon.
You choose from barbeque ribs, pork, beef, chicken, and sausage, plus a number of fresh and delicious sides. Open at 11 a.m. daily, Goldie’s makes a mean plate of barbeque chicken, sided with fresh French fries, cole slaw or onion rings. Just don’t forget to bring a bottle of that Goldie’s house sauce home with you.
When it comes to food, the “V in Vicksburg most definitely stands for variety” – according to the Vicksburg Convention and Visitor’s Bureau – and they’re absolutely right. Not only can you get incredible barbeque, but fresh produce at the many Farmer’s Markets throughout the summer, kicked off by A Chocolate Affair – a chocolate festival in May.
Even the Vicksburg Riverfest – an annual April festivity – is packed with food vendors serving up homemade barbeque, potato salad, fried chicken and catfish.