Meet the Locals: Hattiesburg, Mississippi

By: TLP's Partners

Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is a city like no other. Food, culture, art, music, and people are in our veins and our hearts.

This is a place where family hobbies turn into big success, where community is found around every table, and where joy is spread over every cup of joe.  

Tommy Teepell

Owner of Grin Coffee Tommy Teepell and his family have called Hattiesburg home for more than 20 years. Today he owns a thriving coffee roastery and café, where his wife and two adult children work alongside him every day to cultivate happiness for Hattiesburg residents and visitors. 

“Getting an opportunity to be a memory for somebody else is the ultimate ‘cultivate happy’ moment for me,” Teepell said. “To leave a legacy in such a way that we create memories for others—whether it’s through meetings, first dates, people enjoying coffee somewhere else and thinking of the cup they had here before, or simply smelling coffee as you drive by—is my ultimate goal.”  

What started as a way of spending time with his kids after work led to a career and lifestyle shift for Teepell. From roasting beans in a popcorn maker in his garage to pop-up shops at local businesses to a coffee truck, a small storefront, and now a vibrant, welcoming coffee shop that invites people from all walks of life to find their happy over a conversation and really good coffee, Grin Coffee is a staple in the Hattiesburg community.  

If Grin Coffee is Hattiesburg’s warm embrace, Big Trouble is the city’s cool, fun aunt.  

Jeremy Noffke

Enter Jeremy Noffke, who is no stranger to the Hub City. Noffke found his way to Hattiesburg in the mid-80s and back again in the 90s to begin his Hattiesburg culinary career under restaurateur Robert St. John. A few attempts to leave later, Noffke was pulled right back into the city’s vibe. He was welcomed back with open arms as head chef at Southern Prohibition Brewing ahead of their 10th anniversary in 2023. Fast-forward to 2024, when Noffke opened Big Trouble, an “atypical Asian restaurant and bar.” 

Big Trouble quickly became a go-to date night spot in Hattiesburg. Noffke and team have blended Asian and American dishes to serve up truly unique meals. Think pork rinds on shrimp fried rice or a deconstructed bacon cheeseburger bowl with, you guessed it, fried rice. 

When asked why he chose Hattiesburg to open the new restaurant, Noffke said, “I’ve long been a fan of Asian cuisine, especially Chinese, and have always wanted to present my interpretations of what that means to me. Big Trouble is a restaurant I’ve dreamed of doing for many years, although I can’t take credit for the name. The concept is something I’ve felt a college town like Hattiesburg was missing. It has something for everyone.” 

Hattiesburg is home to nearly 200 locally owned restaurants. Yet the city always welcomes more.  

Terry Jordan

Terry Jordan, owner of the new restaurant Buschman Street Cafe, has seen the community’s support throughout his 30-plus-year culinary career in Hattiesburg. Yet opening a restaurant in downtown nearly a year ago was both frightening and a no-brainer.  

 “The reason I opened a restaurant in Hattiesburg is its culinary palate. It’s very diverse,” said Jordan. “You can get just about anything you want here. Hattiesburg is an oasis. So, it had to be the choice. Hattiesburg palates are so welcoming, and I felt like I had a little bit to say. I thought Hattiesburg might like to hear it, so I had to try it. The support from locals and visitors since opening, I can’t say enough.”  

Jordan, who has worked throughout restaurants during his career and has been voted Best Bartender in the Pinebelt too many times to count, leaned into his family’s favorite dishes when creating Buschman Street Cafe’s menu.  

“Most of the time I try to think of dishes as if I’m cooking them at home,” Jordan said. “Will my family enjoy it? When you have uncles who farm, fish, and hunt, you learn how to cook a brisket. When it came to developing my menu, I was determined to put brisket on it because of that.”   

Buschman Street Cafe is an oasis within an oasis. Its intimate environment easily transitions from lunch to dinner and invites guests to connect surrounded by laid-back elegance.  

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