Main Street Cafe – Collins, MS

If you’re ever near Collins, Mississippi at lunchtime consider stopping in at the Main Street Café. It is smack dab between I-49 and US-84 on Main Street (Highway 184) in Collins. They have an all you can eat buffet for $10 that includes your drink, and a wide selection of down home, Southern classics (a mess of peas, a pot of beans, fried okra, greens, gumbo, cornbread, a large variety of desserts and a salad bar). For the meat selection, they offer ribs, chicken and sometimes catfish. You need to get there by 2pm, though, as they are only open from 9:30am to 2pm on weekdays.

As you can see from my plate, I didn’t waste much stomach space on veggies. Their fried chicken is excellent. Very tasty and juicy, with crisp skin and a good seasoning. I got my money’s worth on fried chicken alone!

The tea is fresh, the servers are friendly and the food is quite good. I definitely recommend it.

Shady Acres – Seminary, Mississippi

As you travel on US Highway 49 between Hattiesburg and Seminary, there is a farm stand/restaurant over three buildings and a fenced in outside area called Shady Acres Village.

While the outside area has plants, metal chicken sculptures and other yard art, the inside is a tight packed general store with local seasonal produce, a bakery with pies and cakes and an entire wall of jams and jellies. Attached is also a restaurant with hot plates (ribs, chicken, fried fish, etc) and darn tasty hamburgers.

While everything looks good, we usually get the burgers. They are nice and thick with pickles, tomatoes and lettuce on a soft bun. One of us gets one with a side of onion rings:

And, the other with fries and we share our sides. The drinks are refillable.

There is plenty of seating including an outside seating area that is covered (and has fans), so we usually stop there when we are traveling with the dog, as she is welcome there.

The staff are all super friendly and the bathrooms are clean. It is a great place to stop when you’re road tripping along US 49.

Rose’s BBQ – Hattiesburg, MS

South of Hattiesburg, in a gas station on Highway 49 is Rose’s Bar-B-Q (here is the link to their Facebook page, as it looks like their domain has expired). We had heard about it from friends and it was on the way back to New Orleans. The parking lot was packed with pick up trucks and sheriff vehicles. There was a heavy scent of hickory smoke in the air, so we pulled up on the curb and went inside.

We bought a pound of the smoked brisket, some chicken on a stick and potato logs. The chicken on a stick was a first for me – chicken, dill pickles, potatoes and onion speared on a stick, covered in batter and deep fried. Not sure I’m a fan but I can now say I’ve eaten this unique Mississippi delicacy.

The potato logs were like wedges on steroids. While the batter could have used a little more seasoning, the potatoes were incredibly fluffy.

The brisket was very tender, with a lovely bark. While it comes with their house made, very good barbecue sauce, the meat was so flavorful, it didn’t need it. We just ate it with our fingers, forgoing the bread.

The prices were reasonable and they got the food to us fast, so we were back on the road in no time. They have even more on the menu than we were able to try (ribs, chicken – bbq and fried, pulled pork, etc), so we’ll be swinging back by soon.


Swung back by for more brisket on September 29th. Also got the pork sandwich (a little too much sauce but piled high with meat) and more potato logs. Still worth the trip!

I think I’ll be trying the ribs next!


Graham’s Fish Camp

On Highway 588 in Collins, Mississippi there is a small restaurant that does a booming business on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Only open from 3 to 9 on those nights, Graham’s Fish Camp is packed the entire time.

689 Highway 588. Collins, MS 39428

They start you out with a huge bowl of coleslaw while you look over the menu, although most folks seem to already know what they like. From looking at the other tables, catfish (Mississippi farm raised) was a heavy favorite.

We started with fried dill pickles and onion rings. One of Elvis’ favorite snacks, the dill pickle chips are battered in cornmeal and quite crunchy and tart. The onion rings were thick and hand battered. The baskets are huge, so I’d recommend the half portion sizes.

I had the fried shrimp platter – 12 shrimp, 3 hushpuppies and a mess of French fries. Crunchy batter on flavorful shrimp – quite tasty. The house made tarter sauce was tart and creamy.

Michelle had chicken tenders plus a catfish filet. Thin sliced with a delicious cornmeal batter, it was fresh and clean tasting. I can tell why so many people come here.

They end the meal with soft serve ice cream and your choice of toppings. For as busy as they are, the wait staff is friendly and quick with refills on the drinks and to check to make sure you don’t need anything else. The cost is quite reasonable, too – for under $20 a piece, we had a huge amount of great food. Definitely worth a visit.

Iron Horse Grill – Jackson, MS

I was up in Jackson, Mississippi for an Equality Summit with HRC Mississippi. The event was downtown near the old capitol, so afterwards we walked to the Iron Horse Grill for dinner.

The salsa was very bright and fresh and the waiter confirmed that it is made in house each day. We enjoyed it with two baskets of their tortilla chips and a lovely margarita.

For the main course, I had one of the best chimichanga’s I’ve ever had. Shredded beef wrapped in a toritilla, deep fried and then topped with queso and ranchero sauce. Layers of flavor, all of them good.


Michelle had the shrimp and grits on the servers recommendation. The grits were a local variety and ground extremely fine. The sauce was quite yummy but, because they left the tails on the shrimp, it was a very messy meal to eat. I don’t think cooking with tails on adds that much flavor and taking them off would definitely improve the dining experience.

IMG_20150829_174456315 copy

The staff was knowledgable and attentive and quick with refills.

Afterwards, we wandered through their Mississippi Music Experience. This onsite museum has wax statues, signed memorabilia and audio/visual displays of the state’s musical history and it’s iconic musicians.

I’d definitely recommend the Iron Horse if you’re in the Jackson area.

Cheddar’s Casual Cafe

I was up in Hattiesburg for dinner with Michelle’s family and we all went out to Cheddar’s Casual Cafe. It is a chain version of a neighborhood restaurant and the food was good and filling and the prices quite reasonable.

We started with the Honey Butter Croissants. These ought to come with a warning about addiction – sweet, flaky, buttery.

honey butter croisants

Michelle had the Sweet Heat Chicken and Shrimp. The sweet chili sauce was quite good.

shrimp and chicken

I had the ribeye with loaded potato and brocolli cheese casserole. Meat was cooked a nice medium rare with a nice sear on the outside. The casserole was a little congealed but the flavor was good and the potato was quite satisfying.

steak broccoli and potato

We ended with the Hot Fudge Sundae Cake – big enough to serve four with two scoops of icecream and both hot fudge and caramel sauce drizzled over the top.

chocolate cake

As you can see by the remains of the plate, we liked it. We really, really liked it.

the remains of the cake

The service was a bit rushed but it was a Saturday during holiday season so I’m cutting her a lot of slack – that and she was dealing with a table of 11 that included two kids under 6. We all had a good meal and conversation and didn’t feel rushed or pressured.

Petra’s Greek Lebanese Cafe – Hattiesburg

My phone went swimming during our kayak trip down the Okatoma on Saturday so we had to make an unplanned trip to Hattiesburg yesterday. After a suggestion from the woman at the Verizon store, we decided to go to Petra Cafe. Located across from University Southern Mississippi, they serve Greek and Mediterranean cuisine in a casual atmosphere.

We started with the falafel patties with Grecian sauce. Fresh from the fryer, it had very fresh flavor with the chickpeas, onions and spices. The sauce was so good we asked for more.


I had the chicken shawarma gyro. The marinated chicken was quite tasty and they had stuffed the fresh, warm pita full to overflowing with meat, onions, tomato, lettuce and yogurt sauce.

gyro 1

Michelle went with the lamb shawarma gyro and enjoyed the lamb slices. She also took all the lovely pictures as my replacement phone won’t arrive for another day and I forgot my camera.

lamb gyro

We finished with the baklava. A very sweet way to end a rather enjoyable meal. They used pistachios and it was yummy.


The service was excellent with a friendly waiter and manager. We were there late and he was quite attentive and even left us the pitcher of Lebanese iced tea (tea with orange blossoms, pink lemonade and pine nuts) because we enjoyed it so much we were draining our glasses.

I’d definitely recommend this place and will probably stop by again myself.

Strick’s BBQ – Hattiesburg, MS

I was in Hattiesburg today and went to Strick’s BBQ for lunch. It is right near to University of Southern Mississippi where we had gone to see the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the Cook Library.


I had the pulled pork sandwich – it was overfilled with terrific pig meat and came with a small thing of sauce that the meat didn’t need. Trust me, you’ll need two hands to bring this sandwich to your mouth it was that big.

pulled pork

Michelle had the BBQ Beef Sandwich and it did need the sauce they gave her as the meat could use the additional flavor. This one was also over filled with meat that we ended up eating it with a fork once we were done with what was in the bun.

bbq beef

On Friday’s they do a $12 buffet with a whole pig that they leave over a fire for 17 hours. It looked delicious but, with a dinner already planned, I wasn’t sure we’d get our money’s worth.


Not a bad BBQ joint at all! Very friendly people on staff.

Leatha’s Bar-B-Que Inn – Hattiesburg, MS

There is good barbecue and then there is great barbecue. Leatha’s Bar-B-Que Inn, on Highway 98 west of Hattiesburg, is one of the great ones. If you want to read a little more about the inspiring woman who opened and ran the joint, follow this link to Robert St. John’s write up on Leatha Jackson after her death in September.

leathes yogurt

Each meal came with two sides and they weren’t anything to particularly write a blog about They mainly served to fill belly space that would have been better filled with meat. In fact, the ‘special’ slaw was way too sweet for me — it tasted like they had added sugar to it. On the other hand, the potato salad was good with the pimentos in it.

potato salad and slaw

It is the meat that had the angels singing. The half slab of pork ribs was fall off the bone tender and their sauce was sweet and tasty. I ordered the half and half and with my slab I got an order of pulled pork. It was nice and flavorful and we were each able to make a sandwich on the rolls they brought. The fried potatoes had a nice crunch but not much for taste.

pork ribs and pulled pork

Michelle ordered the half chicken and it was juicy and tender. It didn’t have that much flavor once you ate past the sauced skin but, they brought a cup of extra sauce, so we were able to keep it flavored all the way to the bone. The baked beans were just okay.

bbq chicken

When we finished there wasn’t much left of the pork but the bones.

nothing but bonesOne of the things I like was that instead of napkins, they gave out white wash cloths – they were able to absorb a lot (not that we also weren’t licking our fingers, too). Service was fine after the woman at the register stepped up to bus the table but I attribute that to them being as busy as they were – it was early on a Friday night and the place was pretty packed.

I think this is definitely a place to be put on my return trip places, although next time I may just order the whole slab and nothing else.


Jutama’s Thai Restaurant – Hattiesburg, MS

I was in Hattiesburg for lunch today and went to a gem of a Thai restaurant. Jutama’s Restaurant has a very friendly staff and offered a pretty deep menu of curries, noodles and specialties of Thai cuisine.

I judge a lot of Thai restaurants by their Tom Kai Gai. Combining coconut milk and lemon grass, ginger, lime, mushrooms and chicken into a taste of heaven is an art that Jutama’s has in abundance. I slurped up every bite and it certainly tasted like more.

tom kai gai

However, we had both ordered entrees, so no more soup for me! For the main dishes, I went with the chicken in peanut sauce and the sauce was a little thin but nicely flavored.

chicken peanut sauce

I was so impressed with the carrot art that I took a separate picture of it:

closeup carved carrot

Michelle ordered the Drunken Noodles. She requested they serve them at 4.5 (on a 5 point heat scale), so it was a little hot for me. Not to mention, she ordered it with tofu. Not bad flavors once your sinuses cleared from the spice.

tofu drunken noodles

We ended the meal with mango, sticky rice and coconut cream sauce. It was another piece of art for both the eyes and the palate.

mango sticky riceIf you’re ever in Hattiesburg, I would most sincerely recommend this restaurant. Authentic Thai is hard to find in the deep South but having such great tastes plus such great service makes Hattiesburgians very lucky indeed.