Best of Jackson 2022: Food and Drink | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Best of Jackson 2022: Food and Drink

Babalu’s margarita selection extended its three-year streak into a fourth year. Photo courtesy Babalu

Babalu’s margarita selection extended its three-year streak into a fourth year. Photo courtesy Babalu

If this year’s Best of Jackson picks are any indication, Jacksonians are never afraid to expand their palates when the moment calls for it, but they certainly can have their tried-and-true fan favorites, too. Of this year’s 33 pre-existing categories, nearly two-thirds of the winners successfully defended a title from 2021 Best of Jackson, with some restaurants’ winning streaks stretching even further back.

Longtime contender Mama Hamil’s Southern Soul Food took its usual nods for “Best Fried Chicken” and “Best Soul Food” back to its massive homefront in Madison, and Babalu’s margarita selection extended its three-year streak into a fourth year. Babalu’s fellow Fondren-dweller, The Pig and Pint, once again flaunted its dominance at the pit and the spit, winning the “Best Barbecue” title for many years running.

The Pig and Pint wasn’t Babalu’s only neighbor to put in a solid showing at the Best of Jackson polls, though, as the pair of restaurants joined Cups Espresso Cafe, Campbell’s Bakery, Aladdin Mediterranean Grill, Rooster’s, Saltine Restaurant, Green Ghost Tacos and Walker’s Drive-In to bring a combined 11 awards home to the Fondren district.

Former Fondren resident Sal and Mookie’s New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint proved that its cross-interstate move was a good one, as Jacksonians decided that the pizza parlor deserved the “Best Outdoor Dining” nod for its new digs at the District at Eastover, making it the only restaurant at the District to take home a 2022 Winner certificate in the food section.

Sal and Mookie’s wasn’t the only surprise this year, as Walker’s Drive-In’s “Best Restaurant” win broke Char’s three-year streak in the category. Koestler Prime also unseated the longtime Jackson staple for “Best Steak,” a title it had held for the last two years. Stamps Super Burgers also dislodged former favorites to prove that its burgers live up to its name in the eyes of Jacksonians, as the restaurant won both “Best Hamburger” and “Best Veggie Burger.”

New blood in old categories keeps things interesting, though, as Tuk Tuk Boom took home the accolate for “Best New Restaurant,” closing out its first year of business in grand style. The Thai restaurant joined its adjacent eatery, Aplos Simple Mediterranean (winner of “Best French Fries”), on the Best of Jackson list, making the duo the only two Highland Village staples to take home Best of Jackson titles this year. Tuk Tuk Boom’s menu is vast and varied, offering traditional favorites like spring rolls and pad thai in addition to more unique offerings, such as “tuk tuk bowls” and poke. Patrons interested in trying the latest addition to the Best of Jackson slate can dine on-site either indoors or outdoors, order takeout, or even try the new restaurant’s catering selection for their next party.

Best Place for Healthy Food, Best Place for Hummus, Best Vegetarian Options: Aladdin Mediterranean Grill

Best Place for Healthy Food Finalists

Cultivation Food Hall / Fit Chef / Mama Nature’s / Nissan Cafe by Nick Wallace Culinary

Best Place for Hummus Finalists

Aplos Simple Mediterranean / Keifer's / Krilakis / Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint

Best Vegetarian Options Finalists

Aplos Simple Mediterranean / BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar / Meals that Heal / Oops All Vegan / Thailicious Restaurant

Best Breakfast, Best Plate Lunch: Primos Cafe

Best Breakfast Finalists

The Bean / Brent's Drugs / Broad Street Baking Company & Cafe / Elvie's / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen

Best Plate Lunch Finalists

Corner Market / Logan Farms Honey Glazed Ham & Market Cafe / Mama Hamil's Southern Soul Food / Martin's Downtown / The Trace Grill

Best Burger, Best Veggie Burger: Stamps Super Burgers

Best Burger Finalists

Brent's Drugs / Bulldog Burger Co. / Burgers Blues Barbecue / Rooster's

Best Veggie Burger Finalists

Aladdin Mediterranean Grill / Babalu / BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar / Burgers Blues Barbecue

Best Fried Chicken, Best Soul Food: Mama Hamil’s Southern Soul Food

Best Fried Chicken Finalists

Fannin Mart Restaurant / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen / Primos Cafe / Rooster’s

Best Soul Food Finalists

Bully's Soul Food Restaurant / Mama’s Kitchen / Nissan Cafe by Nick Wallace Culinary / Primos Cafe / Sweetie Pies

Best Italian Food, Best Place for Dessert: Amerigo Italian Restaurant

Best Italian Food Finalists

BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar / Cerami's Italian Restaurant / Fratesi’s

Best Place for Dessert Finalists

Char Restaurant / Elvie’s / La Brioche / Saltine Restaurant / Urban Foxes

Best Bakery: Campbell’s Bakery

Finalists: Broad Street Baking Company & Cafe / The Prickly Hippie / Sugar Magnolia Takery / Urban Foxes

Best Barbecue: The Pig & Pint

Finalists: Eddie Wright BBQ / Hickory Pit / Jefferson's Grill Restaurant & Catering / Sylvester's Mississippi Style BBQ / Triple A's Barbecue

Best Beer Selection (Restaurant): The Bulldog

Finalists: Barrelhouse / Fondren Public / Martin's Downtown / The Pig & Pint / Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint / Saltine Restaurant

Best Restaurant (Overall): Walker’s Drive-In

Finalists: BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar / Elvie's / Koestler Prime / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen

Best Brunch: The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen

Finalists: BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar / Elvie's / The Iron Horse Grill / Saltine Restaurant

Best Chicken Sandwich: Rooster’s

Finalists: Barrelhouse / Dumbo's on Duling / Elvie’s / Fine & Dandy / Saltine Restaurant

Best Chinese Food: Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese Restaurant

Finalists: Best Wok Chinese Restaurant / Ding How Asian Bistro / Hunan Wok Carry Out / Ichiban Asian Bistro & Go / Wok To Go

Best Crawfish: Crawdad Hole

Finalists: The Back Porch / The Crawfish Hut / Mudbugs / Sal and Phil's / T'Beaux's Crawfish and Catering

Best Doughnuts: Donut Palace

Finalists: Campbell’s Bakery / District Donuts. Sliders. Brew. / Monroe's Donuts & Bakery / Pillow Donuts / The Prickly Hippie

Best Food Truck/Mobile Vendor: One Guy Steak and Chicken

Finalists: Crooked Letter Kitchen / Eddie Wright BBQ / Green Ghost Tacos / Oops All Vegan

Best French Fries: Aplos Simple Mediterranean

Finalists: Aladdin Mediterranean Grill / Crooked Letter Kitchen / Elvie’s / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen / Rooster's / Saltine Restaurant

Best Greek/Mediterranean Food: Keifer’s

Finalists: Aladdin Mediterranean Grill / Aplos Simple Mediterranean / Kismet's Restaurant / Krilakis / Vasilios Greek Cuisine / YiaYia's Greek Kitchen / Zeek'z House of Gyros

Best Gumbo: Gumbo Girl

Finalists: Char Restaurant / Fat Tuesday's / Gumbo Pot / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen / Saltine Restaurant

Best Margarita: Babalu

Finalists: Green Ghost Tacos / Margaritas / Picante's Grill / Santa Fe Grill & Bar / Sombra Mexican Kitchen

Best Mexican/Latin Food: Green Ghost Tacos

Finalists: Babalu / Cinco De Mayo / El Charro / La Cazuela / Picante's Grill

Best New Restaurant: Tuk Tuk Boom

Finalists: Bulldog Burger Burgers / Blues Barbecue (Brandon) / Dogmud Tavern / Hattie's Chicken & Waffles / Kenova Smokehouse / Nissan Cafe by Nick Wallace Culinary

Best Outdoor Dining: Sal and Mookie’s New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint

Finalists: Babalu / Elvie’s / Keifer's / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen / Saltine Restaurant

Best Pizza: The Pizza Shack

Finalists: Aplos Simple Mediterranean / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen / Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint / Soulshine Pizza Factory

Best Place for Coffee: Cups Espresso Cafe

Finalists: The Bean / Coffee Prose / Mocha Mugs / Native Coffee Co. / Urban Foxes

Best Sandwich Place: Basil’s

Finalists: Beagle Bagel / Broad Street Baking Company & Cafe / Crazy Cat Eat Up / Frisco Deli / Room Service

Best Seafood: Saltine Restaurant

Finalists: CAET / Elvie's / Sal & Phil’s / Walker's Drive-In

Best Steak: Koestler Prime

Finalists: Char Restaurant / Ely's Restaurant & Bar / Kathryn's / Tico's Steak House / Walker's Drive-In / Wynndale Steakhouse & Restaurant

Best Sushi/Japanese Food: Ichiban Hibachi and Sushi

Finalists: EDO Japanese Restaurant / Little Tokyo / Sakura Bana / Sushi Village

Best Thai Food: Thai Time - Thai and Sushi Restaurant

Finalists: Fusion Japanese & Thai Cuisine / Thai Tasty / Thailicious Restaurant / Tuk Tuk Boom

Best Wine List or Wine Selection (Restaurant): CAET

Finalists: BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar / Char Restaurant / Elvie’s / Koestler Prime / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen

For a full list of winners and finalists for all sections, visit 2022.bestofjackson.com.

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