2011: Food & Drink | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

2011: Food & Drink

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Best New Restaurant, Most Innovative Menu, Best New Bar, Best Cocktails: Parlor Market
115 W. Capitol St., 601-373-9841

Craig Noone and his crew hit Jackson like a madhouse toque-wearing, knife-wielding, sauce-reducing wrecking crew. They have shaken up the restaurant scene and put everyone on notice that Jackson can become the next food Mecca in the Deep South. I never thought I would see the day when a downtown Jackson restaurant had the stones and dedication to do a seasonal menu that featured bold flavors and techniques unheard-of in a town known for fried food and lump crabmeat swimming in heavy cream.

To pull off such a feat, Craig enlisted the talents of so many great cooks one would think he was shooting a season of "Top Chef." These guys and gals are culinary rock stars with dedication to match their talents. When Jesse Houston and Ryan Bell needed cash to pay for furniture and lodging, they held a yard sale where the star attraction wasn't bric-a-brac and used stuff; it was the gourmet hot dogs they served. And when Craig wanted to wow his patrons with cool libations, he turned to his new friend, the bon vivant Arthur Jones, who painstaking researched prohibition-era and pre-prohibition cocktails that Parlor Market's resident mixologist Robert Arender features on a menu you'd expect to find at the Savoy in London. Reservations are a must, and when you go, try the aviation cocktail.

From the supper menu, there are delights from land, air and sea. Raw oysters are available in the half or dozen served with your choice of bacon mignonette, lime guajillo granita, bloody mary cocktail sauce or apple celery sorbet. Or consider the red snapper with frogmore stew, shrimp hush puppies and delta-ground grits. From land you've got a bounty of options including braised pork belly, cowboy ribeye, brown sugar and tea-brined chicken or a farmer's vegetable plate. To satisfy your sweet tooth, pastry chef Whitney Evans has a spread of fun inventions like mason jar cake, chocolate peanut cake, or a harvest tart with a seasonal fruit, a walnut crust, brown sugar ice cream and rum-raisin sauce. The Walk Down Memory Lane features homemade childhood favorites like ding-dongs and tart-and-tangy push-pops. —Tom Ramsey

Best New Restaurant:
Second: Local 463 (121-A Colony Crossing, Madison, 601-707-7684)
Third: Babalu Tacos & Tapas (622 Duling Ave., 601-366-5757)
Good Showing: Burgers & Blues (1060 E. County Line Road, Suite 22, Ridgeland, 601-899-0038); Mimi's Family & Friends (3139 N. State St., 601-366-6111)

Most Innovative Menu:
Second: Mint (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 502, 601-898-6468)
Third: Walker's Drive-In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633)
Good Showing: Julep (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 105, 601-362-1411); Local 463 (121-A Colony Crossing, Madison, 601-707-7684)

Best New Bar
Second: Babalu Tacos & Tapas (622 Duling Ave., 601-366-5757)
Third: Underground 119 (119 S. President St., 601-352-2322)
Good Showing: King Edward Hotel Bar (235 W. Capitol St., 601-353-5464)

Best Cocktails:
Second: Julep (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 105, 601-362-1411)
Third: Mint (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, 601-898-6468)
Good Showing: Bravo! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111); Char (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 142, 601-956-9562); Pi(e) Lounge at Sal & Mookie's (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919); Underground 119 (119 S. President St., 601-352-2322)

Best Restaurant: Walker's Drive-In
3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633

Once again, Derek Emerson's gastronomic pleasure palace has come out on top. Did you have any doubts that he would? Just the mention of word "Walker's" makes me salivate like Pavlov's dog standing beneath St. Mark's Campanile. I don't care if you are as broke as an Arizona ice fisherman, save up your pennies, dimes and dollars and blow it all on three or four courses and a bottle of wine at Walker's. Your options include: lobster mac and cheese, Walker's tamales, miso-marinated Chilean sea bass, Mediterranean-style bronzini, or veal piccatta with lumpcrab meat. For dessert, try the crème brulee, Walker's bread pudding with vanilla sauce, Chef Emerson's cheese plate for two or request a dessert sampler. You might have to take up residence under a bridge, but the memory of that meal with keep you happy as a clam while the cars rumble overhead.
—Tom Ramsey

Second: Parlor Market (115 W. Capitol St., 601-373-9841)
Third: Char (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 142, 601-956-9562)
Good Showing: Bravo! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111); Julep (1305 E. Northside Drive, Suite 105, 601-362-1411); Nick's (3000 Old Canton Road, 601-981-8017)

Best Chef: Craig Noone, Parlor Market
115 W. Capitol St., 601-373-9841

There's something to be said for combining confidence, drive and skill. Noone, 31, returned to his hometown and promptly took his place at the top of a list that includes guys who have been revered Jackson chefs for quite some time, as well as other rising-star newcomers. While away, he studied at the Texas Culinary Academy (now Le Cordon Bleu) in Austin where he perfected his knack for updating traditional southern cuisine. His dedication to crafting a menu that changes with every season and features nothing (not even the ketchup and pickles on the burger) that isn't made in-house by the most talented kitchen staff in Jackson is one to be rivaled. Craig has raised the bar, and it will be interesting to see how the other lions in this pack respond. My guess is that everyone in Jackson is in for a treat as the established chefs and the new guys battle it out for next year's top spot.
—Tom Ramsey

Second: Derek Emerson, Walker's Drive-In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633)
Third: Luis Bruno, Hilton Jackson, Huntington Grille (1001 E. County Line Road, 601-957-1515)
Good Showing: Dan Blumenthal, Bravo! Italian Restaurant and Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111); Brian Cartenuto (in Jackson, currently available for hire, 202-210-8776); Gary Hawkins, Sophia's (734 Fairview St., 601-948-3429)

Best Steak: Tico's Steak House
1536 E. County Line Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-1030

The outside of Tico's Steak House in Ridgeland resembles a rustic log cabin and the inside a winter lodge with wood-paneling and a jade-green granite-tile bar. But their menu is anything but quaint or rustic. Tico's offers a classic, high-end meat-and-potatoes menu of homemade onion rings, baked potatoes, in 8-ounce, 12-ounce and 14-ounce filets, rib-eyes, New York strip, porterhouse and steak with rock lobstertail. Tico's offers plenty of alternate choices of shrimp cocktail, lamb chops and daily dessert specials. Listed in many regional top-10 lists for steak houses, Tico's is an intimate spot, where you can enjoy a first-rate meal by the crackling fireplace. —Michael Jacome

Second: Shapley's Restaurant (868 Centre St., Ridgeland, 601-957-3753)
Third: Char (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 142, 601-956-9562)
Good Showing: Olga's Fine Dining (4760 Interstate 55 N., Suite D, 601-366-1366); Ely's Restaurant & Bar (115 W. Jackson St., Ridgeland, 601-605-6359); Crechale's Cafe (3107 Highway 80 W., 601-355-1840)

Best Wine List/Selection: Bravo! Italian Restaurant & Bar
4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111

Bravo! is known for many things, including its food, courteous and attentive service, and the wine list. The Italian fusion restaurant that opened April 7, 1994, has won 10 Wine Spectator Awards for its extensive wine selection. You'll travel the world right at your table as you sip domestic and international red and white table wines and sparkling wines, with varietals coming from places like the coast of California, New Mexico, Oregon, Argentina, France, China, Italy and Australia. Although former sommelier Kelly Boutwell left the company in October 2010, her legacy is still strong through the restaurant's impressive wine list. While dining, the staff will be more than happy to make recommendations of food and wine pairings. Bravo! also holds several wine tastings throughout the year.
—ShaWanda Jacome

Second: Shapley's Restaurant (868 Centre St., Ridgeland, 601-957-3753)
Third: Julep (1305 E. Northside Drive, Suite 105, 601-362-1411)
Good Showing: Char (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 142, 601-956-9562)

Best Place to Eat When Someone Else Pays: Char
4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 142, Jackson, 601-956-9562

The first time I went to Char was on a date with my wife. I sampled the 18-ounce, wood-grilled, bone-in ribeye steak with cured butter and baked-potato croquettes, and my wife had the pan-seared duck breast and confit leg with honey-merlot sauce, and a salad of kohlrabi and pear with a side of grits. Both were excellent. Char has been in Jackson since 2002. Not only is it a great place for a date, but it's also a fine choice for family gatherings, rehearsal dinners or as a place to take out-of-town guests. With executive chef and co-owner Paul Schramkowski at the helm since 2006, Char has followed his culinary philosophy of "simple, fresh, rustic dishes well-prepared and executed."
—Michael Jacome

Second: Walker's Drive-In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633)
Third: Nick's (3000 Old Canton Road, 601-981-8017)
Good Showing: Parlor Market (115 W. Capitol St., 601-373-9841); Shapley's Restaurant (868 Centre St., Ridgeland, 601-957-3753)

Best Seafood: AJ's Seafood Grille
361 Township Ave., Ridgeland, 601-856-2844

Great chefs will tell you, fish is an unforgiving protein. You can fudge it a little with pork or beef, but if you mess up a fish, there's no way to fix it or fake it. The good news for us ichthyophiles is that with AJ's around, we never have to worry about sole that tastes like foot. John and Lucy Taylor treat fish the way Indiana Jones treated the Holy Grail—with love, respect and a big spoonful of beurre blanc sauce. Well, maybe not, but you get the point. Try the pesto salmon roulade, Cajun crawfish risotto, Mayan-spiced chicken breast or AJ's special, which is fresh Gulf redfish topped with jumbo lump crabmeat and white-wine sauce or blackened with Cajun crawfish sauce served with scallion mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley. Whether you crave fish, shellfish or mollusks, you'll be thrilled with anything on the AJ's menu.
—Tom Ramsey

Second: Mayflower Café (123 W. Capitol St., 601-355-4122)
Third: Walker's Drive-In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633)
Good Showing: Sal & Phil's (6600 Old Canton Road, Suite B, Ridgeland, 601-957-1188)

Best French Fries: Stamps Superburger
1801 Dalton St., 601-352-4555

Good French fries are hard to come by. Not every restaurant serves up fries that could be a meal on their own. Stamps, however, has mastered the talent. In business since 1971, owner Phil Stamps knows that no burger is complete without fries. The fries they prepare are freshly cut daily and seasoned to your exact specifications. You have a choice of salt and pepper, lemon-pepper, Cajun or any combination of those flavors.
—Briana Robinson

Second: Five Guys Burgers and Fries (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-605-1115)
Third: Cool Al's (4654 McWillie Drive, 601-713-3020)
Good Showing: Burgers & Blues (1060 E. County Line Road, Suite 22, Ridgeland, 601-899-0038); Mugshots Grill & Bar (4245 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-932-4031); Rooster's (2906 N. State St., 601-982-2001)

Best Veggie Burger: Cool Al's
4654 McWillie Drive, 601-713-3020

While Cool Al's is known for its huge hamburgers, the menu there also fulfills the taste buds of vegetarians. Their original veggie-burger recipes are unique and delicious. The menu warns that the Jamaican and West African veggie burgers are spicy. Made with a blend of spices, beans and peas, each burger is a representation of the restaurant's perception of the regions. Cool Al's also offers the Pineapple Veggie Delight on a whole-wheat bun. For vegetarians who like to pretend they're eating a real burger loaded down with fixins, try the Garden Burger.
—Briana Robinson

Second: High Noon Café (2807 Old Canton Road, 601-366-1602)
Third: Burgers & Blues (1060 E. County Line Road, Suite 22, Ridgeland, 601-899-0038)
Good Showing: Majestic Burger (1491 Canton Mart Road, 601-899-8822)

Best Vegetarian Options: High Noon Café
2807 Old Canton Road, 601-366-1513

Being a vegetarian is hard. I lasted about two days when I went meat-free. So when my vegetarian friend invited me to lunch at High Noon Cafe, I was skeptical. To top it off, she suggested the High Noon Burger. I'd tried veggie burgers before that tasted like dirt, so I wasn't looking forward to it. But then it arrived, and it put other veggie burgers, and even other meat burgers, to shame. I now eat there all the time. I love all their menu items, whether it's the burger or a "Blue" Bowl that's so tasty it makes me, a meat-eater, crave tofu. High Noon isn't just great because they have tons of vegetarian options; they're great because all of them are delicious.
—Holly Perkins

Second: Aladdin Mediterranean Grill (730 Lakeland Drive, 601-366-6033; 163 Ridgeway, Suite E, Flowood, 601-992-7340)
Third: Cool Al's (4654 McWillie Drive, 601-713-3020)
Good Showing: Spice Avenue (4711 Interstate 55 N., 601-982-0890)

Best Asian (not Chinese): Pan-Asia
720 Harbor Pointe Crossing, Ridgeland, 601-956-2958

Tucked away in Ridgeland, you'll find Pan Asia with its modern and Zen décor complete with a 32-foot indoor waterfall. It offers a huge selection of Asian fusion dishes made from the fresh ingredients inspired by flavors from regions of Thailand, Japan, India, Vietnam and China. It's so fresh, in fact, their ahi-tuna is flown in from Hawaii daily. The full menu includes: appetizers, sides, soups, salads, sushi (maki rolls, donburi, nigiri and sashimi), noodle and rice dishes, stir-fry bar and desserts. Choose from one of the signature dishes: firecracker shrimp, panko soft shell crabs, grilled filet mignon or roast duck breast.

The Gong Bar offers an extensive martini, wine list and some interesting libations like the Fortune Cookie (Godiva White, Smirnoff Vanilla, White Creme de Cacao served with a chocolate-covered fortune cookie). Enjoy drink specials—draft beer, sake, wine, martinis and frozen drinks—on different nights of the week.
—Pamela Hosey

Second: Thai House (1405 Old Square Road, 601-982-9991)
Third: Bonsai Japanese Steakhouse (1925 Lakeland Drive, 601-981-0606)
Good showing: Nagoya (6351 Interstate 55 N., Suite 131, 601-977-8881; 111 Colony Crossing, Suite 380, Madison, 601-856-5678); Little Tokyo (876 Avery Blvd., 601-991-3800); Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant (2640 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-420-4848)

Best Falafel: Aladdin
730 Lakeland Drive, 601-366-6033;
163 Ridgeway, Suite E, Flowood, 601-992-7340

Long a favorite of the University of Mississippi Medical Center crowd, Aladdin has established itself as one of the best Mediterranean restaurants in Jackson. Featuring a menu of Middle Eastern favorites such as tabouli, kabobs, house-made hummus and gyros, there's something to suit every facet of your sumac-loving taste buds. As good as Aladdin's other offerings are, it's the falafel that puts it on top of this year's Best of Jackson voting. Made from chickpeas and accented with plenty of garlic, onion and parsley, Aladdin's falafel are deep-fried and served with a silky tahini yogurt dipping sauce. While the rest of the meat-centric menu is quite tempting, the perfectly fried falafel at Aladdin makes a compelling argument for a vegetarian diet.
—Andrew Dunaway

Second: Keifer's (705 Poplar Blvd,, 601-355-6825; 120 N. Congress St., 601-353-4976)
Third: Jerusalem Café (2741 Old Canton Road, 601-321-8797)
Good Showing: Petra Café (104 W. Leake St., Clinton, 601-925-0016); Mediterranean Fish and Grill (6550 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-0082)

Best Mediterranean/Greek and Best Outdoor Dining: Keifer's
705 Poplar Blvd, 601-355-6825; 120 N. Congress St., 601-353-4976

After 30 years, Keifer's is far and away a Jackson institution. For some, it's the comforting atmosphere and great open-air dining of their porches; others rally under the flag of pita, feta and salads, but for nearly everyone Keifer's is the place for a delicious selection of wraps. While feta pita, Grecian salads, classic gyros, and suvlaki are all well and good, the real secret to Keifer's success is their feta sauce. Smooth, creamy and bursting with feta goodness, the sauce goes well with everything at Keifer's.
—Andrew Dunaway

Best Mediterranean/Greek:
Second: Aladdin Mediterranean Grill (730 Lakeland Drive, 601-366-6033; 163 Ridgeway, Suite E, Flowood, 601-992-7340)
Third: Wraps (1220 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-2006)
Good Showing: Kristos (971 Madison Ave., Madison, 601-605-2266); Jerusalem Café (2741 Old Canton Road, 601-321-8797); Mediterranean Fish and Grill (6550 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland. 601-956-0082)

Best Outdoor Dining:
Second: Que Será Será (2801 N. State St., 601-981-2520)
Third: Walker's Drive-In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633)
Good Showing: Burgers & Blues (1060 E. County Line Road, Suite 22. Ridgeland. 601-899-0038); Sal & Mookie's New York Style Pizzeria & Ice Cream Parlor (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919)

Best Gumbo, Best Red Beans & Rice: Que Será Será
2801 N. State St., 601-981-2520

For more than 20 years, Boo and Cyndi Noble have owned and operated Que Será Será on North State Street where many Jacksonians turn for their Cajun culinary needs. While their menu features Louisiana classics like fried crawfish tails, catfish po-boys and Cajun pizzas, it's the Duggan's Seafood Gumbo that truly sets them apart from the competition. A perennial Best of Jackson Best Gumbo winner, it is rife with andouille, shrimp, crab and oysters. Combine that gumbo with the stellar red beans & rice, and the trademark outdoor dining, and it should come as no surprise that Que Será Será once again takes home their fair share of the Best of Jackson awards.
—Andrew Dunaway

Best Gumbo
Second: Hal & Mal's (200 Commerce St., 601-948-0888)
Third: Char (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 142, 601-956-9562)
Good Showing: Fat Tuesday's (6923 Old Canton Road, Suite 105, Ridgeland, 601-956-2971); Broad Street Baking Company (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 101, 601-362-2900); Nick's (3000 Old Canton Road, 601-981-8017)

Best Red Beans & Rice
Second: Hal & Mal's (200 Commerce St., 601-948-0888)
Third: Fat Tuesday's (6923 Old Canton Road, Suite 105, Ridgeland, 601-956-2971)
Good Showing: Cherokee Drive Inn (1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388)

Best Chinese: Ichiban Sushi and Chinese Buffet
359 Ridgeway, Flowood, 601-919-8879

For access to a nearly unlimited variety of food, it's hard to beat the classic Chinese buffet. Where else can you find snow crab legs, fried rice, General Tso's chicken, Crab Rangoon, and all your other Chinese favorites in row after row of gleaming stations? While Jackson may offer a wide selection of Chinese restaurants, it's Ichiban that garners this year's award for the best in Jackson. At Ichiban, they go above and beyond your average Chinese buffet by offering freshly made sushi and a selection of dim sum dumplings. The only real problem is deciding where to start, but with an all-you-can-eat policy, feel free to make multiple trips to the buffet to sample the full variety.
—Andrew Dunaway

Second: China Belle (1855 Lakeland Drive, Suite E10, 601-368-9588)
Third: P.F. Chang's China Bistro (910 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-605-4282)
Good Showing: Ding How Asian Bistro (6955 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-1717); Five Happiness Chinese Restaurant (2931 McDowell Road Extension, 601-371-8765)

Best Sushi: Nagoya Japanese Restaurant
6351 Interstate 55, Suite 131, 601-977-8881

Nagoya Japanese Restaurant once again wins the Best of Jackson award for best sushi. Clearly the chefs and staff are doing something right there. From its showy hibachi grill to its traditional sushi, Nagoya offers an array of selections across the Asian cuisine spectrum. If you want some more adventurous dishes, try one of the specialty rolls (like the Rainbow Roll or the Rock & Roll). If you want to get in touch with your traditional side, try the California Roll or the Nagoya Roll. Jackson actually has plenty of sushi restaurants, like Little Tokyo and Sakura Bana (a Jackson staple), so have fun exploring them all.
—Byron Wilkes

Second: Little Tokyo Japanese Restaurant (876 Avery Blvd., Ridgeland, 601-991-3800)
Third: Sakura Bana (4800 Interstate 55, 601-982-3035)
Good Showing: Ichiban (153 Ridgeway, Flowood, 601-919-0097); Bonsai Japanese Steak House (1925 Lakeland Drive, 601-981-0606)

Best Italian, Best Pasta, Best Place for Dessert: Amerigo Restaurant
6592 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-977-0563

If you're seeking the best Italian, pasta and desserts in the city, then you'll be pleased to discover you can enjoy them all in one meal. Since 1987, Amerigo is where many Jacksonians have turned to satisfy their itch for high-quality Italian cuisine. The only real problem with eating at Amerigo is knowing where to start. I suggest beginning with their cheese fritters. Featured in Bon Appetit, they are what mozzarella sticks want to be when they grow up. It's obvious that pasta is your main course and from the cannelloni al forno to the shrimp scampi, you really can't go wrong with any pasta selection. As for the generous-sized desserts, tiramisu may seem to be a clichéd answer, but can you really turn down a helping of vanilla cream and Kahlua chocolate sauce with your tiramisu? With that three-course menu being just one of the hundreds of combinations that Amerigo has to offer, it shows they have the chops to consistently win this trio of awards.
—Andrew Dunaway

Best Italian
Second: Bravo! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111)
Third: Fratesi's (910 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-956-2929)
Good Showing: Cerami's Italian Trattoria and Café (5417 Lakeland Drive, Suite I, Flowood, 601-919-2829); Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano (970 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-354-6600)

Best Pasta
Second: Bravo! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111)
Third: Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano (970 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-354-6600)
Good Showing: Fratesi's (910 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-956-2929); Cerami's Italian Trattoria and Café (5417 Lakeland Drive, Brandon, 601-919-2829); Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919)

Best Place for Dessert
Second: Char (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 142, 601-956-9562)
Third: Sal & Mookie's New York Style Pizza and Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919)
Good Showing: Bravo! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111); Primos Café (2323 Lakeland Drive, 601-936-3398; 515 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-898-3600); Parlor Market (115 W. Capitol St., 601-360-0090)

Best Take-Out: OEC Japanese Express
Multiple locations, 201 E. Layfair Drive, Suite 200, Flowood, 601-932-3588

Sometimes you find yourself hungry and cannot decide what to eat. Fast food is boring, steak is too heavy, but sushi hits the spot. OEC offers both hibachi and sushi for those undecided times. Try the sushi rolls, including the crab roll, dancing eel, volcano, tornado and caterpillar. Their hibachi grill, ranging in price from $4.95 to $10.95, is available at both lunch and dinner. Options include: chicken, steak, salmon, vegetables, shrimp, scallops or combination plates. Add a side of fried rice, salad (house, cucumber, seaweed, squid or crab), miso soup or edamame to any meal. OEC, with its casual diner-style atmosphere, is a great place to go for a quick lunch, dinner or to carry out. This Japanese fare will keep you fully satisfied.
—Michael Jacome

Second: Wok to Go (4329 N. State St., 601-981-2112)
Third: Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919)
Good Showing: Bravo! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111)

Best Mexican/Latin Restaurant, Best Margaritas: La Cazuela
1401 E. Fortification St., 601-353-3014

With three simple ingredients, the margarita is an ethereal combination. Yes, every Mexican restaurant offers some form of this classic cocktail, but the people have spoken, and they have again crowned La Cazuela as the home of the city's best margarita. Of course, this begs the question: "If a margarita is just a mixture of tequila, triple sec, lime juice and a little salt, what sets La Cazuela apart from the rest?" Well, it's a trade secret at La Cazuela. The only hint is that just one person makes the margaritas there. So take advantage of their 5-8 p.m. happy hour Sunday through Thursday, and savor the best Mexican food and Margaritas that Jackson has to offer.
—Andrew Dunaway

Best Margaritas
Second: Las Margaritas Mexican Restaurant (1625 E. County Line Road, Suite 120, Ridgeland, 601-957-7672, 737 Clinton Parkway, Clinton, 601-924-0005)
Third: Papitos (111 Colony Crossing Way, Suite 1200, Madison, 601-605-0275)
Good Showing: El Potrillo (210 Dogwood Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-9260)

Best Mexican/Latin
Second: Papitos (111 Colony Crossing, Madison, 601-605-0275)
Third: El Potrillo (210 Dogwood Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-9260)
Good Showing: Las Margaritas Mexican Restaurant (1625 E. County Line Road, Suite 120, Ridgeland, 601-957-7672; 737 Clinton Parkway, Clinton, 601-924-0005); El Sombrero (640 Highway 80 E., Clinton, 601-925-8282)

Best Deli/Sandwiches, Best Meal Under $10, Best Salad or Salad Bar: Newk's Express Café
multiple locations

If you're looking for a freshly made sandwich, look no further than Newk's Express Café. Sandwiches at Newk's range from the Chicken Salad Sandwich (with grapes, pecans and provolone cheese) to the Newk's "Q" (grilled chicken topped with bacon, Swiss cheese and Newk's own white barbecue sauce). For lighter fare, try the vegetarian club with grilled portabella mushrooms, bell peppers, goat cheese and pesto.

At Newk's, customers don't have to sacrifice portion sizes for cash, as making a meal with only $10 is easy and delectable. You can purchase a full-sized sandwich with sides or soup for $10, and you'll likely have leftovers. "I can't finish it all," says Nick Nastasi, associate manager of the Newk's in Flowood.

Newk's selection of salads is the envy of most any eater, chief among these is the Newk's Favorite Salad. It features cranberries, artichoke hearts, pecans and Gorgonzola cheese (if you're not a meat-eater, ask for no chicken) and Newk's own homemade sherry-vinaigrette dressing. They also offer Grab-n-Go salads and sandwiches.
—Byron Wilkes

Best Deli/Sandwich
Second: Broad Street Baking Co. (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 101, 601-362-2900)
Third: Beagle Bagel (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 145, 769-251-1892; 898 Avery Blvd. N., Ridgeland, 601-956-1773)
Good Showing: Basil's (904 E. Fortification St., Suite B, 601-352-2002; 2906 N. State St., 601-982-2100; 120 N. Congress St., 601-944-9888); McAlister's Deli (multiple locations)

Best Meal Under $10
Second: Keifer's (705 Poplar Blvd., 601-355-6825)
Third (tie): Basil's (904 E. Fortification St., Suite B, 601-352-2002; 2906 N. State St., 601-982-2100; 120 N. Congress St., 601-944-9888); High Noon Café (2807 Old Canton Road, 601-366-1602) / Good Showing: Beagle Bagel (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 145, 769-251-1892; 898 Avery Blvd. N., Ridgeland, 601-956-1773); Lumpkin's BBQ Restaurant (182 Raymond Road, 601-373-7707)

Best Salad or Salad Bar
Second: Rainbow Natural Grocery Cooperative (2807 Old Canton Road, 601-366-1602)
Third: Cool Water Café (1011 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-956-6332) / Good Showing: Room Service (4107 Northview Drive, Suite D1, 601-362-4617)

Best Kids' Menu, Best Place for Ice Cream: Sal & Mookie's New York Style Pizza and Ice Cream Joint
565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919

If my son had his way, we would have pizza every day. And not just any pizza: Sal & Mookie's pizza. I first experienced Sal & Mookie's while visiting my folks one Christmas prior to moving here in 2008. It was a cold and dreary day, but I was determined to try out this "pizza joint" I'd read about. The trek from Canton was well worth it.

I could rave on about the adult menu, but the kids' menu is equally satisfying. Kids have a choice of pizza (of course), chicken tenders, hamburgers, PB&J, grilled chicken with fries and fruit, chicken parmesan, panini grilled provolone cheese sandwich or pasta with a choice of sauce. And to keep the kids busy while you wait, they can sculpt their own artwork with a free pack of wiki sticks. Sometimes they'll even let you put it up on the wall.

A family meal is not complete without dessert. The ice cream selection at Sal & Mookie's has more 20 flavors, which can be served in a dish, cake cone, sugar cone, waffle cone or chocolate-dipped candy-rolled waffle cone. They also have shakes, malts, floats, banana splits and sundaes. Try their "I'm all about the Candy" served with vanilla or chocolate ice cream, crumbled Snickers and Butterfinger bars, caramel sauce, crushed peanuts, whipped cream and a cherry. Or how about the Strawberry Fields Forever with strawberry ice cream, strawberry sauce, mini marshmallows, whipped topping, a cherry and a dusting of powdered sugar?
—ShaWanda Jacome

Best Kids' Menu
Second: Newk's Express Café (multiple locations)
Third: McAlister's Deli (multiple locations)

Best Place for Ice Cream
Second: Marble Slab Creamery (1057 E. County Line Road, 601-899-9060)
Third: Bop's Frozen Custard (1173 E. County Line Road, 601-952-0661)
Good Showing: Maggie Moo's (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 8003, Ridgeland, 601-898-5993); Cold Stone Creamery (1888 Main St., Suite B, Madison, 601-853-7400); Sweet Tree Yogurt (772 Lake Harbour Drive, Suite 5, Ridgeland, 601-707-5491)

Best Server: Janis Boersma, Nick's
3000 Old Canton Road, 601-981-8017

Perennial Best Server Janis Boersma will have been with Nick's for 22 years this coming May, but she hardly considers her job work. "I really love my job; I really, truly do," she says. "I might be in a bad mood, but when I see my customers I brighten up, because I love them." She starts to name off her customers, but for lack of space they can't all be listed here. Boersma is the kind of waitress who'll make a card, or on occasion a cake, for customers when she knows it's their birthday. "I think everybody brings something to the party," she says. "Everyone has a gift, and you have to be open and receptive to that." —Byron Wilkes

Second: Mandalyn Meadows-Goode, High Noon Café (2807 Old Canton Road, 601-366-1602)
Third: Anne Friday, Hal & Mal's (200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-0888)
Good Showing: Jennifer Breaux, Parlor Market (115 W. Capitol St., 601-373-9841); Corinn Escude, Sal & Mookie's New York Style Pizza and Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919)

Best Donuts: Scurlock's Donut Shop and Eatery
125 S. Congress St., Suite 106, 601-326-8520

When it comes to donuts, Jackson is home to many local shops. Instead of facing the County Line traffic for mass-produced donuts, enjoy Scurlock's freshly baked glazed, jelly-filled or chocolate-covered homemade donuts. The assortment of pastries is endless: buttermilk cakes, cream-cheese Danish and more. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m with the traditional breakfast menu. They also serve lunch items. Drop by Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. and the first Saturday every month from 7 a.m.-noon. —Briana Robinson

Second: Donut Palace (5651 Highway 25, Brandon, 601-919-8601; 1716 Highway 51, Madison, 601-898-8781)
Third: Shipley Do-Nuts (103 Highway 80 E., Clinton, 601-925-0020)
Good Showing: Monroe's Donuts & Bakery (6310 Medgar Evers Blvd., 601-981-3208); Pillow Donuts (5036 Parkway Drive, 601-572-8332)

Best Brunch/Sit-down Breakfast, Best Place to Buy Cakes, Best Plate Lunch: Primos Café
2323 Lakeland Drive, 601-936-3398; 515 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-898-3600

Primos first opened its doors as a bakery in 1929. Although the café has been moved and remodeled several times, it still offers amazing food. I go there often for breakfast (try the biscuits and cheese grits), and no matter how hard I try, I can never avoid the bakery case. I suggest the strawberry cake and the caramel cake. Primos offers a choice of two blue-plate specials Monday through Friday. Primos traditional southern lunch and dinner fare in addition to their yummy homemade desserts will have you hooked.
—Pamela Hosey

Best Brunch / Sit-down Breakfast
Second: Julep (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 105, 601-362-1141)
Third: Broad Street Baking Company (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 101, 601-362-2900)
Good showing: Mimi's Family and Friends (3139 N. State St., 601-366-6111); Char (4500 Interstate 55 N., 601-956-9562)

Best Place to Buy Cakes
Second: That Special Touch (2769 Old Brandon Road, Pearl, 601-932-5223)
Third: Campbell's Bakery (3013 N. State St., 601-362-4628)
Good Showing: Dream Cakes (1006 Top St., Suite D, Flowood, 601-992-2708); Cakes and Candles (670 Highway 51, Suite H, Ridgeland, 601-605-2646); For Heaven's Cakes (4950 Old Canton Road, 601-991-2253)

Best Plate Lunch
Second: Walker's Drive-In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633)
Third: Cherokee Drive Inn (1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388)
Good Showing: Trace Grill (558 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-853-1014) and McDade's (653 Duling Ave., 601-366-5273; 904 E. Fortification St., 601-355-9668; 1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 320, 601-366-5676)

Best Buffet, Best Soul Food: Mama Hamil's Southern Cookin'
480 Magnolia St., Madison, 601-856-4407

The word "buffet" conjures up images of bookoodles of choices. The words "soul food" bring to mind what for many of us Mississippians is a necessity: home-cooked comfort food, often as filled with good memories as it is with exceptional flavor. Head up to Madison on Highway 51 to Mama Hamil's to partake of the veritable definition of all that. Say hallelujah! You'll find food perfect for the present, with the history of four generations of southern cooks behind it.

Every day of the week you can select from various meats, with that ol' favorite, fried chicken, topping the list daily, lunch and dinner. Then there are the sides and salads that feed our southern souls, including at least a couple of favorites for everyone who walks through the door. I am partial to butter beans, fried okra and mashed potatoes. Your choice of eight salads and two breads can join your meat and three on your plate—that is if you were able to limit yourself to only three sides. And don't forget, you've got to leave room for dessert, which means selecting from seven. Mercy!
—Lynette Hanson

Best Buffet
Second: Ichiban Chinese Buffet (359 Ridge Way, 601-919-8879, Flowood)
Third: Two Sisters' Kitchen (707 N. Congress St., 601-353-1180)
Good Showing: Country Fisherman (3110 Highway 80 W., 601-944-9933) / Lumpkin's BBQ Restaurant (182 Raymond Road, 601-373-7707)

Best Soul Food
Second: Two Sisters' Kitchen (707 N. Congress St., 601-353-1180)
Third: Collins Dream Kitchen (1439 Terry Road, 601-353-3845)
Good Showing: Peaches (327 N. Farish St., 601-354-9267) / Bully's Restaurant (3118 Livingston Road, 601-362-0484) / Lumpkin's BBQ Restaurant, (182 Raymond Road, 601-373-7707)

Best Bakery, Best Breakfast on the Run: Broad Street Baking Company
4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 101, 601-362-2900

We take birthdays seriously at the JFP. That often means desserts from Broad Street—most recently Italian cream cupcakes and New York-style cheesecake. You can also choose cookies, brownies, crispy treats, pots de creme and fruit tarts. Broad Street has a large array of breads and other baked goods: scones, muffins, croissants, cinnamon rolls and focaccia bread. Breakfast includes homemade granola, Belgian waffles, hash-brown casserole, cheese grits and fruit salad. The quiche and omelets of the day feature ingredients like goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, onions, peppers, spinach, mushrooms and any other number of items. Wash it down with a bottomless cup of coffee.
—ShaWanda Jacome

Best Bakery
Second: Campbell's Bakery (3013 N. State St., 601-362-4628)
Third: Primos Café (2323 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-936-3398)
Good Showing: Great Harvest Bread Company (5006 Parkway Drive, 601-956-4406); Beagle Bagel (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 145, 769-251-1892; 898 Avery Blvd., Ridgeland, 601-956-1773); Gigi's Cupcakes (730 Makenzie Lane, Flowood, 601-919-1566)

Best Breakfast On the Run
Second: Beagle Bagel (4500 Interstate 55 N., 769-251-1892; 898 Avery Blvd. N., Ridgeland, 601-956-1773)
Third: Primos Café (2323 Lakeland Drive, 601-936-3398; 515 Lake Harbour Drive, 601-898-3600)
Good Showing: Mimi's Family and Friends (3139 N. State St., 601-366-6111); Scurlock's Donut Shop and Eatery (125 S. Congress St., Suite 106, 601-326-8520); Corner Bakery Café (108 Market St., Flowood, 601-919-9797)

Best BBQ: Hickory Pit
1491 Canton Mart Road, 601-956-7079

When I think of barbeque the words Texas and Memphis come to mind. The Hickory Pit, started in 1980, considers itself to be Mississippi-style barbeque and has proclaims it has the "Best Butts in Town." The scent of that sweet barbeque in the air is the first thing that draws you in as you pull into their parking in Canton Mart Square. The menu includes barbeque chicken, pork, beef (served with a slaw relish), smoked ham, smoked turkey and po-boys. Load up your plate with "extra fixins" like garlic bread, Brunswick stew with homemade cornbread, tater salad or baked beans—you will be in hog heaven. Finish your meal off with a slice of homemade lemon, pecan or Hershey bar pie, or a piece of carrot or coconut cake if you possibly can.
—Michael Jacome

Second: E&L Barbeque (1111 Bailey Ave., 601-355-5035)
Third: Lumpkin's BBQ (182 Raymond Road, 601-373-7707)
Good Showing: Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q (2603 Highway 80 W., 601-355-7434

Best Ribs: E&L Barbeque
1111 Bailey Ave., 601-355-5035

Mississippians like their ribs wet, slathered in sauce, not dry-rubbed Memphis-style. And in Jackson, E&L Barbeque's sauce is the reigning champ, giving its ribs the leg up on other worthy challengers. The legendary Georgetown barbecue joint's reputation extends far and wide: no-nonsense furnishings, long lines at lunch and a rib plate to break your diet for—meaty, sweet, spicy and smoky in perfect proportion. Hickory Pit, which tends to dominate the Best Barbecue category, gets honorable mention here, while runners-up Lumpkin's and Sonny's mean that E&L has to stay on its game for 2012.
—Ward Schaefer

Second: Lumpkin's BBQ Restaurant (182 Raymond Road, 601-373-7707)
Third: Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q (2603 Highway 80 W., 601-355-7434)
Good Showing: Hickory Pit (1491 Canton Mart Road, 601-956-7079)

Best Beer Selection, Bottled; Best Beer Section, Draft: The Bulldog
6111 Ridgewood Road, 601-978-3502

The Bulldog is a Promised Land for lovers of beer. Self-declared "draft freaks" use a combination of nitrogen and CO2 to pump their draft, so it never touches the air, which can kill the flavor. They use a state-of-the-art dishwasher to wash their pint glasses so glasses are squeaky clean and ready for your beer-drinking enjoyment. You can enjoy yours in the bar, at a pub table or on the tree-lined patio.

Choose from more than 50 varieties of beer on tap from the lager, ale and wheat family originating from places like Germany, Australia, Ireland and Mexico. The Bulldog offers drink specials different nights of the week like $2 off select pitchers on Monday, $1 off local pints on Tuesday and happy hour every day until 7 p.m. On Wednesdays, for every two collectible pint glasses returned to the bar, The Bulldog will donate $1 to the local SPCA.

For the ultimate beer-drinking fan, The Bulldog offers a Beer Journey card. Once you complete your card with all 50 drafts, you'll go home with some Bulldog swag and be immortalized on the "Adventurers" plaque hanging in the bar.

To help soak up all that beer, they offer an extensive menu including finger foods, sandwiches, wraps, salads, burgers, desserts and what they call "Other Grub" and "Fork Food."
—ShaWanda Jacome

Beer Selection, Bottled
Second: Martin's Restaurant & Lounge (214 S. State St., 601-354-9712)
Third: Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-365-1919)
Good Showing: Parlor Market (115 W. Capitol St., 601-373-9841); McDade's (multiple locations)

Beer Selection, Draft
Second: Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-365-1919)
Third: Mellow Mushroom (275 Dogwood Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-7499)
Good Showing: Burgers & Blues (1060 E. County Line Road, Suite 22, Ridgeland, 601-899-0038); Fenian's Pub (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055)

Best Fried Fish: Cock of the Walk
141 Madison Landing Circle, Ridgeland, 601-856-5500

When pretty much all you serve is one kind of fried fish, you better be pretty damn good at it. Cock of the Walk is so good that catfish tremble in fear at the mention of its name. This local landmark has been serving fish, flipping cornbread and feeding the masses for as long as I can remember, and I've yet to be disappointed with any meal I've had there. The fish are always fresh and tasty, the fries are always crisp, and the service is always spot-on. Keep up the good work.
—Tom Ramsey

Second: Penn's (2085 Lakeland Drive, 601-982-9004)
Third: Jerry's Catfish House (3326 Highway 49 S., Richland, 601-845-8860)
Good Showing: Eddie & Ruby's Snack Bar (1268 Valley St., 601-969-2723); Martin's Fish House (5249 Clinton Blvd., 601-922-1150)

Best Fried Chicken: Two Sisters' Kitchen
707 N. Congress St., 601-353-1180

It's no surprise that this year is Two Sisters' Kitchen's seventh consecutive year to win Best Fried Chicken. After more than 20 years of service, this downtown Jackson buffet has remained one of Jackson's top lunch spots for workdays and after church on Sunday. The buffet line features various healthily cooked southern sides such as cabbage, mustard greens, grits and cornbread. The star, the chicken, is fresh (never frozen) and prepared with the skin off and dusted with a special seasoning. Owner Diann Irving Alford, who runs the restaurant with her daughter Amanda Griffin, says their special recipe has been passed down for four generations.

The dessert line always proves to be delicious, featuring bread pudding, peach cobbler or banana pudding, and sometimes, chocolate cake. Guests can choose to enjoy their meal inside the cottage-styled restaurant or out on the patio.
—Briana Robinson

Second: Julep (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 105, 601-362-1411)
Third: Mama Hamil's Southern Cookin' (480 Magnolia St., Madison, 601-856-4407)
Good Showing: Primos Café (2323 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-936-3398; 515 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland 601-898-3400); Rooster's (2906 N. State St., 601-982-2001)

Best Barista: Eamonn Cottrell, Cups Fondren
2757 Old Canton Road, 601-362-7422

I've never had a coffee shop that I frequented enough to know the barista's name. However, during my almost two years at the Jackson Free Press, I've made frequent morning trips over to the Fondren Cups. I am greeted every weekday by Jackson's favorite barista, Eamonn Cottrell (or Ramone, as one voter called him). He's always poised and ready behind the counter to whip together your usual, whether it is a soy latte, a Capitol Street caramel or a fruit smoothie during the warmer months. Cottrell will remember your order right down to whether you like yours with or without whipped cream.

Cottrell, who is a native of Knoxville, Tenn., has been living in Jackson and working at Cups since 2003 and lives by the motto of "progress, not perfection." He's currently pursing his degree in business administration at Millsaps College. When he's not working, this 27-year-old piano man (he plays in his spare time) likes to spend time with his girlfriend, Angela, or take it easy with some rest and relaxation.

His favorite coffee? He keeps it simple and classic with a double-shot of espresso.
—ShaWanda Jacome

Second: Cody Cox, Cups Fondren (2757 Old Canton Road, 601-362-7422)
Third: Leslee Foukal, Sneaky Beans (2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349)
Good Showing: Byron Knight, Sneaky Beans (2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349); Caitlin McNally, Sneaky Beans (2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349)

Best Hangover Food: Cherokee Drive Inn
1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388

Nothing coats the stomach better after a night of beer drinking like the awesome dishes served at the Cherokee Drive Inn. On many Saturdays, my hungover pals and I have quarantined ourselves in the back booths to compare notes on the previous night's adventures, while chugging some of the best sweet tea made, along with heaping piles of onion rings, chicken sandwiches and fried pickles doused in comeback sauce. And now the Cherokee is now open on Sundays. While the sounds of crashing dishes and children playing may make your head throb a little more, the food, atmosphere and service totally make up for it. —Natalie Long

Second: Keifer's (705 Poplar Blvd., 601-355-6825)
Third: Pizza Shack (1220 N. State St., 601-352-2001)
Good showing: Burgers & Blues (1060 E. County Line Road, Ridgeland, 601-899-0038); Cool Al's (4654 McWillie Drive, 601-713-3020); Que Sera Sera (2801 N. State St., 601-981-2520)

Best Taqueria: Taqueria La Guadalupe
6537 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-206-7776

The tacos at Taqueria La Guadalupe made me forget every stomach-churning experience I'd had at a certain unmentionable taco drive-through. The traditional-style tacos range from chicken (pollo) to Mexican sausage (chorizo) and everything in between. The perfectly seasoned meat is served inside a homemade tortilla topped with a bit of cheese, lettuce, cilantro and fresh avocado with a sauce that takes the taco to another level of tastiness. If you're looking to change it up a bit, they also have Mexican-style sandwiches called Tortas, that are so big you could share—although they're so good you might not want to—as well as fajitas, enchiladas, burritos and traditional desserts like tres leches and flan.
—Holly Perkins

Second: La Morena (6610 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-899-8821)
Third: Babalu Tacos and Tapas (622 Duling Ave., 601-366-5757)

Best Wings: Wingstop
multiple locations

I once had a dream. It was an amazing dream. It had nothing to do with equality between all races; Dr. King already had that dream covered. It was a dream where my love of wings met my passion for lemon in an explosion in my mouth. That dream becomes reality at Wingstop. More than hype, Wingstop has won the Miller Lite Wing Tour two years in a row, in 2009 and 2010. Besides the dream-worthy lemon pepper wings, Wingstop has eight other flavors to choose: atomic, Cajun, original hot, mild, hickory smoked BBQ, garlic parmesan, Hawaiian and teriyaki. All flavors are available as regular wings, boneless and chicken strips.

Also try the fresh-cut seasoned fries, potato salad, coleslaw, hot cheddar-cheese sauce, bourbon-baked beans or crispy veggie sticks as you watch the game on one of their flat-screen TVs with an ice-cold beer in hand. If you don't have time to eat there, you can call ahead or order online. With two locations in Jackson and one each in Clinton and Ridgeland, wings are only a short drive away.
—Michael Jacome

Second: Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar (808 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-856-0789)
Third: Sal & Mookie's New York and Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919)
Good Showing: Hooters (4565 Interstate 55 N., Frontage Road, 601-981-0480)

Best Burger: Burgers & Blues
1060 E. County Line Road, Suite 22, Ridgeland,
601-899-0038

Al Stamps' reputation clearly followed him from restaurants he helped start, Stamps Superburger and Cool Al's. Since opening in April, Burgers & Blues has made its way to the top of everyone's favorite burger joint list. Another Al Stamps restaurant, in collaboration with Steven Sahler, turned out to be just what the public was looking for. Burgers & Blues is both a family-friendly restaurant and a sports bar with live blues and southern rock music every Tuesday through Sunday nights. The menu is filled with signature burgers such as "The Stamp" and "The County Line," and customers can choose from 4-ounce, 8-ounce or 16-ounce patties. If you are brave, try "The Whammy Challenge," three one-pound patties with all the trimmings and a pound of fries. If you finish this eating challenge in 30 minutes or less, the meal is free, and you get your photo on the Whammy Wall of Fame.
—Briana Robinson

Second: Mugshots Grill & Bar (4245 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-932-4031) / Third: Stamps Superburger (1801 Dalton St., 601-352-4555) / Good Showing: Cool Al's (4654 McWillie Drive, 601-713-3020); Majestic Burger (4943 Old Canton Road, 601-899-8822); Five Guys Burgers and Fries (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-605-1115)

Best Pizza: The Pizza Shack
1220 N. State St., 601-352-2001

In the cutthroat world of hand-tossed pizza, it is often difficult to choose where to go. The Pizza Shack beckons you to try something new, even as it offers excellent standards, such as cheese and pepperoni. The Pizza Shack has also designed more than 15 specialty pizzas for any type of customer. You're in the mood for shrimp, but don't want to get seafood? Bam! The Shrimp Alfredo might be for you. Maybe you are feeling tropical, but just can't get away? Pow! The Hawaiian can be just what the doctor ordered. Or maybe you are just a glutton for punishment? Then Shazam! The Chicken Curry Delight might be right up your alley.
—Michael Jacome

Second: Sal & Mookie's New York Style Pizza & Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919) / Third: Soulshine Pizza Factory (1139 Old Fannin Road, Flowood, 601-919-2000, 1111 Highland Colony Parkway Suite 1, Ridgeland, 601-856-8646) / Good Showing: Mellow Mushroom (275 Dogwood Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-7499)

See more Best of Jackson 2011 winners.

Previous Comments

ID
161849
Comment

The following corrections are made above and will appear in the print edition next week: The winner of the Best Fried Fish award is Cock of the Walk, not Cock o' the Walk. For the Best Barista award, Byron Knight and Caitlin McNally should have been listed as Good Showing.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-01-28T20:26:47-06:00
ID
161850
Comment

Whoops. Right one.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-01-28T20:38:06-06:00

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