*Jackson Newbie: Food FAQ | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

*Jackson Newbie: Food FAQ

I'm craving butter beans and sweet potato casserole. What local restaurant serves really good home-cooked veggies?
The Fresh Market Café, 1877 Spillway Rd., Brandon, 601-919-8636, satisfies your cravings with from 14-15 vegetables, plus sweet potato casserole and corn soufflé. You'll also find four to six meats, two to three fish dishes, several breads, tea, plus three homemade pies and banana pudding every day that they're open.

Where can I find Jackson's best red beans and rice?
Check out Que Sera Sera, 2801 North State St., 601-981-2520, because the always take first place in that JFP Best of category. Hal &Mals, 200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-0888, is a close second, though.

Pretty soon the evenings will be cooling off, which makes me think of chili. Which spot will ring my fire alarm?
Hal & Mal's, 200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-0888, serves up some mighty fine chili, by the cup or by the bowl. It's meaty and spicy, and you can get loads of jalapenos added, if you like it truly red hot. Pair a cup of this with a freshly toasted grilled cheese sandwich, and you'll find yourself in comfort-food heaven.

What sort of late-night dining options are there in the metro area?
There's always the ubiquitous Waffle House, but for food a bit more exotic, you should try Aladdin's Mediterranean Grill, next door to the Conoco station where Lakeland dead-ends into Old Canton Rd., 601-366-6033, 601-366-3613. The Mediterranean and American food is tops with lots of folks overcome by hunger in the wee hours.

I'm looking for a place with music, drinks and food—where should I park my vehicle?
If the jukebox is your best friend, then the Cherokee Inn, 1410 Old Square Road, 601-362-6388, is what you're looking for. They've either won or placed second in the JFP's Best of Bar Food category; those ladies know all about cooking, no matter whether it's in the evenings, when you're imbibing, or at lunch, when you might not oughta be. If you're craving live music with your bar food, then Hal & Mal's is the your best bet.

I've just got to get out to a fine dining establishment. Which ones are tops in Jackson?
You could head for Nick's, 1501 Lakeland Dr., 601-981-8017, or Bravo! Italian Restaurant & Bar, 601-982-8111, Char, 601-956-9562, and Julep, 601-362-1411—all three at Highland Village, on the corner of Northside Dr. and I-55 North. In Fondren you'll find Schimmel's, 2615 N. State St., 601-981-7077 or Walker's Drive-In, 3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633—don't be put off by the name 'cause it really is fine dining. Del Sol, 4569 McWillie Drive, 601-983-4956, has tasty Mediterranean, and Bonefish Grille in Madison, 201 Colony Way, 601-607-3334, will meet all of your seafood needs.

In my hometown I had scoped out the best hamburger joint, complete with real French fries. Is there anywhere in Jackson like that?
You absolutely cannot beat Stamps Superburger, 4654 McWillie Drive, 601-713-3020. Just be prepared to wait a while if you go when everyone else is craving a juicy burger and a huge pile of piping hot French fries. Every second you've waited is worth it, so just sip your sweet tea and wait. Or you can go for an early supper when the crowd hasn't yet arrived. Don't forget to try the freshly fried sweet potato chips—they will definitely make you want to slap yo' mama.

Soul food feeds my soul, and I haven't had any lately. Any ideas?
Peaches Café, 327 N. Farish St., 601-354-9267, is a perennial favorite with the JFP voters in the Best of category. They've got your collard greens, your cabbage, your smothered chicken, your pig ears, your chitterlings, your lots of other stuff. Go see for yourself. And line up some of your favorite soulful tunes on the jukebox, too.

Sometimes I just want some chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. Where can I find it here?
Rooster's, 2906 N. State St., Fondren Corner Building, 601-982-2001, is without a doubt the place you want to go. The chicken fried steak is huge, crispy, tasty and not really greasy. The sides are good, too. Plus Rooster's has a side of its own—Basil's, 601-982-2100, is at the other end of the Fondren Corner Building and serves super paninis.

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