The American South is known for its grandiose hospitality, perhaps nowhere more so than in Mississippi. The place is so friendly that it calls itself the Hospitality State — Mississippians know how to welcome guests into their homes. They also know how to welcome guests at the state’s many excellent restaurants, bars, and barbecue joints, the best of which we’ve rounded up as part of our second annual guide to the best food and drink in every state.
As with Southern cuisine in general, Mississippi owes much of its culinary tradition to the trans-Atlantic fusion of African, European, and Native American foodways. This history means it is still home to some great traditional Southern and soul food joints; Jackson’s oldest restaurant, the Mayflower Cafe, serves a mean gumbo, and Arthur Davis of Lorman’s Old Country Store has been hailed as no less than the “King of Fried Chicken.” Mississippi cuisine is more than just black-eye peas and boiled peanuts, however; John Currence runs an updated Southern food empire out of posh Oxford, and curious eaters can find everything from authentic Chinese food at Mr. Chen’s in Jackson to a fantastic no-nonsense steak and tamales at Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville.
How did we go about choosing the best eats in the Magnolia State? Over the course of the past year we’ve honored everything from its best hot dogs and brunch spot to its best bar and craft beer in our comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs. We’ve compiled these into individual slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state, and you can find our Mississippi slideshow here.