It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Two Sisters’ Kitchen, located on North Congress Street in downtown Jackson, an unofficial branch of Mississippi’s government. Situated across the street from the Mississippi Supreme Court building and one short block north of the “new” Capitol building, we’d guess at least as many deals are brokered over the bread pudding (with whiskey sauce) as they are in those other downtown Jackson institutions.
Diann Alford, owner and manager, acknowledges the state workers and political leaders who enjoy lunch at her place. But she notes that her clientele runs from office workers to families to touring groups to “working men.”
“I’ve seen several signs in other places saying ’no muddy boots’ recently,” Alford says, smiling. “And I think, ‘We’re all God’s children—and I have a broom!’”
Jackson locals know Two Sisters’ Kitchen well. Step onto the front porch and through the door of the two-story Victorian-style house (built in the same year, 1903, as the “new” Capitol), and you’re greeted immediately by the fantastic aromas of the hot lunch buffet—and, most likely, by Alford herself.
The deceptively simple presentation—complete with the hard plastic plates many of us remember from our public schools days—belies the award-winning (and, we mean award-winning) fried chicken served six days a week, supplemented by fried catfish on many days and country-fried steak with tomato gravy on Sundays.
We mentioned the awards: Food & Wine magazine has recognized Two Sisters’ Kitchen’s signature dish as among the best fried chicken in the United States. The restaurant is a 15-time champion of the “Best of Jackson” reader’s choice for Best Local Fried Chicken, 2016 “Best of Mississippi” winner from Mississippi Magazine, and numerous other regional outlets have written them up over their 28 years in business.
Some recent Travel Channel exposure hasn’t hurt, either. In a clip with Adam Richman of “Man vs. Food Nation,” Alford dons an apron and shows him how the fried chicken is done—never frozen, skin removed, marinated, coated in seasoned flour and dropped in the fryer for 10 minutes.
Richman emerges from the taste test a big fan.
“We’ve had a lot of guests around the world after our feature on ‘Man vs. Food Nation’ and ‘101 Places to Chowdown,’” Alford says. “Australia, France, Japan, China. It’s really exciting to see where people are coming from.”
While many guests come for the fried chicken, they’re treated to a full buffet of greens, starches and other veggies as well. Alford says she seasons the vegetables herself and doesn’t use pork in their preparation, including the cabbage and greens, opting for healthier turkey stock in some, and no meat in others.
Alford says her team makes their own ranch and Italian dressings each day for the salad bar. The angel biscuits are baked from scratch. She personally supervises dessert preparation each morning, which always includes the aforementioned bread pudding, along with banana pudding and apple crisp. She includes peach cobbler every day except Wednesday and “pecan-pie bread pudding” on Sundays.
Each buffet includes tea (“sweet or un-sweet”) and your choice of dessert, with coffee and soft drinks available for a little extra. Lunch is served five days a week from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. (They take Saturday off.) When weather permits, the patio is available for extra seating, with live music most Wednesdays through Fridays, and Sundays when it’s nice out.
Tour groups are welcome, and Alford can block off a room for business or organizational meetings if everyone is eating; make sure you call ahead. Outside of lunch hours, Two Sisters can accommodate parties, rehearsal dinners, baby showers and graduation events; they’ve even hosted a few weddings.
The number-one goal, though, is to get you a tasty mid-day meal in comfortable surroundings. “People don’t always grow up having Sunday lunch at their grandmother’s house anymore,” Alford says. “We pride ourselves on serving lunch that way six days a week.”
Two Sisters’ Kitchen has an active Facebook presence and can be reached at 601-353-1180.
Two Sisters’ Kitchen
707 N. Congress St.
Jackson, MS 39202