Martin’s Restaurant & Bar: Local Art, Great Eats, and Original Beats

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The Restaurant: Established in 1953, Martin’s has long been a staple in the entertainment and foodie scene in Downtown Jackson. Martin’s is the self-proclaimed “Home of Jackson’s Best Original Live Music” and it lives up to that proclamation. If you are looking for consistent live music from local artists, look no further than Martin’s. Enjoy the newly renovated entrance and patio, ordained with colorful, vibrant murals from local artist Jason Jenkins. Dubbed the “Martin’s Mural Project”, this array of artwork gives tribute to Mississippi’s musical roots, its food, and its people.

There’s limited patio seating available, if you go on a day when the weather is just right for outdoor dining.

The Atmosphere: The modern and lively collection of murals on the exterior give way to a dated and almost nostalgic bar and lounge interior. Although they have made efforts to renovate and improve their lounge experience, they left quite a bit of their 1980’s era novelties, including a classic –and operating – cigarette vending machine. It makes for quite the interior ambiance of past meeting present. I was greeted by a thick cloud of smoke, happy lounge goers, and a delightful bartender named Debbie. As a non-smoker, I found it quite difficult to hang around the back-bar area to await my order.

The Menu, the Food & the Service:

Mondays were made for drink specials at Martin’s and there’s no such thing as a “happy hour” around those parts. Rather, according to them “every hour is happy hour at Martins.” Although I was tempted by the notion, I wanted to get to the food.

Now, on to the menu. It’s a standard American offering with some interesting appetizer items such as deep fried pickle spears and deep fried mushrooms. I chose to skip out on the appetizers and head straight to the dinner platters. I made up my mind that I would order at the bar and take it to-go. I ordered the Hamburger Steak Platter with Rice and Fried Okra. I’m always game to try a “house favorite” and this dish is a Martin’s Classic, with 100% Hereford beef hand-pressed into a thick and flavorful patty, served with a side of gravy, topped with grilled onions, and a choice of two sides and buttered French bread. The beef was perfectly seasoned and prepped with coarse black pepper and garlic. Home run, Martin’s!

While I’m not inclined to dine-in, I’ll definitely add it to my to-go restaurant rotation. I’m sure I will have plenty of opportunities to check out remaining items on the menu very soon. I hear their catfish platter is the perfect consistency of flaky, crispy goodness and I’m interested to put it to the test. I’ll be back soon, but I’ll be calling it in for sure.

 

Carlyn Hicks

Carlyn Hicks, founder of Jackson Foodies, lover of all things culinary, pro-Jackson advocate

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