Jackson, Mississippi prides itself on the diversity of its population, something that is reflected in the city’s deliciously varied restaurant scene. From down home soul food to fine dining, Jackson offers excellent opportunities to discover a bite of Southern culture presented in vibrant restaurants springing up in some of the city’s burgeoning neighborhoods.
The city’s culinary community also demonstrates a laudable diversity of restaurant ownership and clientele. The welcoming atmosphere in these eateries befits the attitude of Southern hospitality that makes Jackson restaurants so special.
As Jackson grows and matures as a city, new dining establishments continue to make splashes as exciting additions to the restaurant community. It’s hard to keep up with all of them sometimes, but it sure is a delicious task to try.
Fire and food come together at this modern Mediterranean eatery where the kitchen revolves around an Italian pizza oven and an eight-spit rotisserie where meats turn and cook slowly to lock in flavors. These meats are the centerpiece of the menu which features salads, wraps and rice bowls made using shawarma-style chicken or beef, souvlaki pork or lamb or falafel for a vegetarian option. The rest of the menu is like a tour of the Mediterranean with pizzas, Middle Eastern mezze small plates and Greek-inspired side dishes.
Crazy Cat Eat Up started out as just a bakery, but soon customers began clamoring for them to expand into a full-service restaurant offering lunch throughout the week and dinner on Thursday through Saturday night. Serving elegantly plated inventive dishes that range from salads to sandwiches to seafood, Crazy Cat focuses on seasonal food presented in an unfussy Southern ambiance, like dining in your favorite grandma’s tearoom. (Providing she was a very good cook, of course.) True to their baking heritage, the desserts at Crazy Cat are insanely delicious.
Take a virtual trip to a cozy European bistro at this all-day café in Belhaven. The former residential home has been converted into an attractive oasis with gleaming brass accents and a sparkling white marble bar where they serve specialty coffee drinks during the day and inventive cocktails at night. The menu also skews European with seasonal fare made using fresh ingredients and a thoughtful attitude toward sourcing. From fresh breads and egg dishes at breakfast and lunch to classic French dishes like Duck Confit Cassoulet and Steak Frites at the evening meal, Elvie’s knows exactly what sort of restaurant they want to be and maintains a laser focus on their food.
Cultivation is Jackson’s first food hall, and in fact it’s the first in the entire state. It has quickly become a favorite dining destination for locals seeking a little variation in their restaurant choices. The attractive dining area features shared seating for multiple food and drink concepts, each of which maintains a separate space to prepare and vend their food. Serving as an incubator for new restaurants, the concepts may change over time, but there are always some spectacular options ranging from Greek, Italian and Asian cuisine to craft cocktails and specialty coffee drinks.
This playful modern diner in the courtyard of The District at Eastover exhibits some of the most striking restaurant design in the city, from stenciled wallpaper featuring local landmarks to colorful milkshakes just begging to be put on social media to intentionally mismatched china that looks like it was inherited from a hundred different grandmothers. The food that goes on those plates is another subject of extreme focus, with re-invented versions of classic comfort food dragged creatively into this century.
Fine & Dandy’s sister restaurant just across the lawn at The District is another project by talented young chef, Jesse Houston. It’s his ode to the 90’s with its bright “Miami Vice” color scheme and shrines to favorite television shows of the era like “Saved by the Bell.” Walls of live plants serve as space dividers between booths and an expansive indoor/outdoor patio is the place to enjoy creative cocktails along with creative Tex/Mex cuisine. The kitchen makes their own tortillas in-house every day, and the menu features raw bar options, ceviches, tacos and tortas.
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