BY KRISTIN ALLEN
There’s never been a shortage of great places to eat across our state, but it seems the options keep getting better. Chef-driven menus are now the norm and between a shared commitment to sourcing local, urbane dining settings and several James Beard nominations, the Mississippi restaurant scene continues to evolve and elevate. Here is where we’ve taken notice…
1101 JACKSON AVENUE EAST, OXFORD • 662.380.5141 • EATSAINTLEO.COM
It was no surprise to Oxford regulars when the James Beard Foundation named Saint Leo a 2017 semi-finalist for “Best New Restaurant.” Owner Emily Blount nailed it with a rustic Italian menu coupled with a space that evokes the feel of a hip, SoHo restaurant. This makes sense as Blount spent a decade in New York prior to moving to Oxford with her young family. On her space she says, “It reminds me of New York and I love all of the windows down the side. I knew the building had great ‘bones’ and I love renovating places, so it was a fun and exciting project to take on.” Located on the Oxford Square, Saint Leo is known for their wood-fired pizzas, small plates and superb wine list.
DELTA MEAT MARKET
118 N. SHARPE AVE., CLEVELAND 662.444.6328 • DELTAMEATMARKET.COM
Cleveland’s Delta Meat Market also received a nod from the James Beard Foundation, naming Chef Cole Ellis a semi-finalist for “Best Chef: South.” After honing his culinary skills in Charleston and Nashville, Ellis had a homecoming of sorts, returning to his Delta roots with “a vision of raising my kids like I was raised.” Delta Meat Market serves classic lunchroom dishes, think catfish po’ boys and seasonal veggie plates, as well as charcuterie made in-house. Expect a crowd Friday afternoons when the market hosts happy hour complete with draft beer, live music and of course, great food.
1000 HIGHLAND COLONY PKWY. #5002, RIDGELAND 601.707.7684 • LOCAL463.COM
3101 N. STATE ST. #102, JACKSON
Don’t let the name fool you. It’s Local 463, but the sister restaurant of Walker’s Drive-In and CAET moved from its Madison location on Highway 463 to Ridgeland’s Renaissance at Colony Park. Expect all the Local 463 favorites such as Redfish 463 and the Spicy Thai Pizza with an expanded blue plate lunch menu and what’s arguably the best Sunday brunch in town. Owner Derek Emerson and Executive Chef Robert Rushton continue to amaze with distinctly great seasonal seafood dishes and we’re told their highly anticipated soft-shell crabs are in. In other good news, owners Jennifer and Derek Emerson will soon extend hours at their Fondren wine bar, CAET to serve lunch Tuesday through Friday.
SWEET TEA & BISCUITS
2025 MCCULLOUGH BLVD., TUPELO 662.322.7322 • SWEETTEAANDB.COM
Tupelo’s Sweet Tea and Biscuits is an ode to all things Southern. This inviting café is run by two sisters who left the corporate world to indulge their love of cooking and hospitality. But sweet tea and biscuits are just the beginning. Here, it’s the desserts that are unforgettable ranging from pies with mile-high meringues to decadent layer cakes, and seasonal cobblers topped with a Julia Child crust.
10 SOUTH BAR & GRILLE
1301 WASHINGTON ST., VICKSBURG 601.501.4600 • 10SOUTHROOFTOP.COM
You may not notice the expansive views of the Mississippi River once a heaping plate of 10 South Bar and Grille’s Chicken and Waffles is before you. A stack of sweet potato cornbread waffles is topped with their secret-spice chicken and a maple-chili glaze, making for an unforgettable dish. Other top menu items include Fried Crawfish Balls and Yazoo City Catfish Tacos. When in Vicksburg, 10 South is a must-stop for great food, cocktailing and remarkable river scenery.
BULLDOG BURGER COMPANY
702 UNIVERSITY DR., STARKVILLE 662.324.4040 • BULLDOGBURGERCO.COM
It’s not just the bulldog that’s made Starkville’s aptly named Bulldog Burger Company. a favorite among locals and students alike, it’s the next- level burgers. Under the direction of Chef Patrick Sandidge, Bulldog Burger Co. serves both classic and “reinvented” burgers, each branded on the top bun with the restaurant’s signature mark. Top menu items include the fairly dubbed, “Freshman 15” and “Vegetarian 21,” a veggie burger composed of 21 different vegetables.