After eating through the city with soul, I put together a list of restaurants in Jackson MS not to miss! One thing I noticed as I ate through the city over four days was the continuous “wow factor.” Every time I ate a new meal I was blown away by how good it was. There is this great balance in Jackson of southern cooking and what I would call new age foodie cooking. The food in the city is both instrumental in bringing people together and creating those conversations about it.
From servers, chefs, bartenders, and the locals, one thing is for sure, the people in Jackson are very passionate about their city and the food they share. There is an excitement like no other about sharing these experiences with visitors to the city as if we are family. You can’t find that just anywhere, no. You need to come to Jackson for this kind of hospitality.
Before I ate at any restaurants in Jackson MS, I had the notion that everything would be BBQ, deep fried and some of that delicious southern flare we expect. What I found was more than that.
If you want to find soul in Mississippi, head to the restaurants in Jackson MS where food is being created that is mind blowing and going to challenge the way you look at dishes and how they are created.
Restaurants In Jackson MS: Breakfast
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I tend to agree. While I am self professed bacon connoisseur, I also enjoy all the other great breakfast favorites. I would eat breakfast foods three meals a day if I could, and the sweeter, the better!
I loved this little pastry shop in the Fondren District. You feel like you are in France purely by the aromas in the air. Cases filled with macarons and cakes, pastries, and breakfast items, it will be hard to pick just one thing. I was good though because I knew I would be eating all day and just got an almond croissant. It was perfectly flaky, filled with a delicious almond spread and to die for. If you are planning on spending time in the Fondren District (and I hope you do) this is a great place to start your morning.
One of the benefits of staying at the Fairview Inn is the included breakfast! The menu has a lot of variety on it offering items like: Oatmeal, southern eggs benedict, grits, etc. Below is the southern eggs Benedict oozing with yolk.
Tip: get a side of their bacon – it is truly amazing.
The Fairview Inn also offers a really nice Sunday brunch that is open to the public. We did not dine for this but we were in the hotel while it was happening. The food display looked very nice and a lot of people were in dining.
Restaurants In Jackson MS: Brunch
Brunch: the acceptable meal that you can start drinking alcohol before noon at and not be judged.
From sweet to savory, brunch at the Manship should be on your list. We went with a sweet treats board, smoked tuna dip, breakfast tacos, and duck leg. Accompanying mimosas were had! My favorite dish here was the tacos. They were just perfect, made with chorizo and freshly sliced avocado.
We got the sweets board first and it came with 3 dipping sauces, cinnamon rolls, churros, and donut sticks. What I loved about this board was that bread items could be dipped in all the sauces, giving it an elevated flavor tasting.
Located in the Highland Village shopping district, Char should absolutely not be missed. I would strongly argue it is one of the best restaurants in Jackson MS!! We dropped in here for their famous pecan caramel butter crunch and it was sensational! Ended up trying a bunch of dishes and all of them were equally as amazing. For Saturday brunch they have a special called “pecan tenders” and I was simply blown away at how good they are. They come with two sides and I got greens and mac and cheese. Everything was really good and you should put Char on your list!
Their pecan caramel butter crunch is a real winner among desserts in Jackson and several locals mentioned that we should try it, so we did. I am such a sucker for sweets, so I am glad we made it over here because this dish does not disappoint.
Dropped in here for some rose and their raisin bread that comes with a cinnamon apple butter. Bravo is a short walk from Char in the Highland Village.
Restaurants In Jackson MS: Lunch
Estelle Wine Bar & Bistro
Located in the Westin, I dined here right before my massage (which you should also get) and the food is delicious. Since I had a lot going on I did not get wine, but I did get the sweet tea – and we all know, you either like sweet tea or you’re wrong.
I went with the chicken salad on croissant and it was perfectly flaky and fresh!
Crazy Cat Eat Up
This restaurant took me by surprise! What I loved is that they had a dish called the “Bis-Cat” and it was a biscuit sandwich with catfish on it. It just doesn’t get more southern than that. This dish was also a top contender for best dish in Jackson and I would highly recommend dropping in to try it.
Other favorites were the meatloaf panini, shrimp and grits, tomato pie, and the bread pudding!
This bread pudding is so sinful. Incredibly moist with glazed nuts and sauce. Even my friend who isn’t a sweets person liked it!
The Pig and Pint
By far one of my favorite restaurants in Jackson MS and for good reason. Not only is the BBQ amazing, but they are pushing the limits on their dishes and the out come is amazing. Make sure and place your order for food and then go around to the inside and order one of their beers. I went with a stout (not sure if they have the same beer everyday, I would check). The beer went perfect with my lunch options!
Example 1: brisket nachos on PORK RINDS. I mean, what? If I had to pick, this was my absolute favorite dish in Jackson!
Example 2: meat twinkies! aka corn dogs filled with brisket
Example 3: fried bologna sandwich with egg!
Example 4: fried twinkie strawberry shortcake.
If you can only eat at one place in Jackson, the Pig and Pint is it. I would eat here all the time if I lived local.
One thing that really stood out was the the conversation we had with the owners. They support community in such a big way. We were chatting and they expressed how they help the other restaurants in the area by promoting them on social media or helping out when they need something. You just don’t find that kind of hospitality and that really moved me.
Cathead Distillery – Craw-fish Boil
I am not sure if this is an all year or seasonal event, but when it is going on, you should not miss it! The distillery opens its doors and has a party on the lawn with a live band, beer sellers and a craw fish boil!
Restaurants In Jackson MS: Dinner
This was my first dinner experience with restaurants in Jackson MS! Usually the first meal makes or breaks a trip. Fortunately, they gave me something to talk about the rest of my stay: TUNA POKE NACHOS! This is not a dish a I would have expected to find in Jackson, but I am so glad I did. These nachos are a bed of wonton chips (which I argue really complete them) topped with ahi tuna, avocado, seaweed salad, sesame seeds, Hawaiian sauce, and spicy aioli. These nachos were not spicy – but they were amazing!
Other items we tried were the brisket sliders and chicken Parmesan meatballs! The meatballs are supposedly famous at Barrelhouse and I am glad we decided to try them. You can actually choose what meat and sauce you want and we went with chicken and parmesan. It ended up being a great combo. Loved all the food at Barrelhouse and it really set the bar for what we would be getting into while in town.
If you are looking for restaurants in Jackson MS that make homemade pasta, Parlor market is where its AT! Every single dish that came out was simply delicious. From duck, to shrimp to carbonera – it was all incredible. The pasta is fresh and cooked perfectly. No dish felt too heavy and the portions weren’t excessive. We did try a lot of dishes here and everything was just scrumptious.
My favorite appetizer and quite possible the best use of “fries” I have ever seen was the crispy eggplant fries with roasted pepper butter sauce and roasted pistachios. I could have easily eaten my weight in these fries. No questions asked.
We stopped by the Whisk Creperie for dinner one night and it is located in Cultivation Food Hall. In fact, if you are looking for a selection of restaurants in Jackson MS, this would be the place to go. There are a variety of restaurants located in here to suit any flavor.
I am a sweets over savory person, however I did try both and loved them. I went with a peach crepe and we also got a Southern Crepe that was just to die for. The savory crepe was not something I was ever after, but it turned out amazing. Highly recommend trying both.
The sauce that is used in the savory crepe is called “comeback” and it is widely popular in restaurants in Jackson MS. I did find it tasted slightly different everywhere we had it, but I can tell you it went very well with this crepe and I did not expect it to.
Restaurants In Jackson MS: Lounges
Probably one of the happiest places in Jackson as far as drinks and food go in a lounge setting. We went to 4th Avenue late evening on a Saturday and it was popping! We did have a reserved table (and I highly recommend you get one if you plan on visiting because they were at capacity when we left) and were able to get drinks and food.
Highly recommend the chicken and waffles and the cheese board that comes with alligator sausage! These chicken wings are some of the best I have ever had EVER! They are perfectly crisp and juicy and tasted amazing with the syrup. I will probably be talking about them for awhile – that good!
We had such a fun experience at 4th Avenue as they played all great music we know and the vibe is just so fun.
Located in the Fairview Inn, the Library Lounge is popular among locals and those staying at the Inn. The space is smaller and more intimate and low key, which is easy for conversations and dining. This is not a sports bar or a club. If you are looking to watch sporting events or have a rowdy evening, you will not find that here. That was what I loved about the setting at Library lounge. I could hear my friend speaking and enjoy great drinks and laughs.
At first I just ordered cocktails (which I went back for a day later) and I tried one of their egg white drinks. SO GOOD! To be fair, I had never had a cocktail made with egg whites and my curiosity struck me. Both the Innkeeper Peter and the staff at the lounge recommended it. I am very glad I had it because I haven’t had a craft cocktail take me by surprise in a long time and I loved it.
Then we decided to try some food and ended up ordering raw oysters, baked oysters with bacon, and a dessert pie. The Library Lounge has a decent size menu for the bar and all the food sounded amazing. I opted for the oysters because I am constantly craving them and because I had never had baked oysters with bacon on them. I can’t say enough great things about the experience at the Library Lounge. It was a perfect evening closer both nights we went.
I know there are SO MANY MORE restaurants in Jackson MS that I did not get to. Which means I will just have to go back and try more of the food. A lot of restaurants were recommended to that I just could not get to. I could spend a couple weeks in Jackson trying everything. When I go back I will update this article to give you guys more fantastic options to chose from when dining in Jackson.
I can’t say enough about how great the food and hospitality are in Jackson. If you are considering visiting Jackson, I highly suggest it! I had such a wonderful time in this southern city and I think you will too.
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Disclaimer: This post is written in partnership with the Visit Jackson Tourism Board. As always, opinions are entirely my own.