Saltine Restaurant: Seaside Flair in Historic Duling Hall

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The Restaurant: Saltine Restaurant is located in Duling Hall, the once site for Duling Elementary School in the early 1900s. Adorned with original bricking throughout the restaurant and intricately decorated with spent oyster shells, Saltine pays homage to the history of its location and brings forth new possibilities for the use of a place which has become a staple for so many Jacksonians. With that said, expect it to be fairly loud, as the acoustics in such a setting aren’t the best.

 The Food: Let’s jump right to it. On this visit, I was on a quest to determine one thing and one thing only – what was the fuss about the Double Saltine Burger. One of my fellow Jackson Foodies recently remarked that Saltine arguably has the best burger on Duling Avenue. Well, you know what that meant for this foodie, I needed to test that notion. While I was there, I decided to indulge a bit, since it had been quite a while since I visited.

I started out with the Alligator & Andouille Gumbo, topped with Delta blues rice and green onion. I didn’t flinch at the thought of alligator, what real foodie would? Although, I was prepared to mask the game-like taste with hot sauce. To my surprise, I needed none. It was a flavorful, yet simple dish. Some may find it slightly salty, but it was very good to me – surprisingly good! Naturally, a foodie can’t go to an oyster restaurant and not get oysters, right? So, I ordered the Wood-fired Oysters Half Dozen Sampler. It typically comes with three varieties, but I was not interested in BBQ oysters, so I did a half and half with the Oysters Lafitte and Citrus Butter. Citrus Butter was a simple, traditional oyster preparation with butter, citrus, shallots, and garlic. The Oysters Lafitte were a real treat, topped with crawfish tails, bacon, parmesan, and hot sauce butter.

Truthfully speaking (or writing), I was on the verge of tapping out at this point. I came for the Double Saltine Burger, but my eyes wanted to conquer so much more. Great thing for Saltine – a little bit of a space problem for me. Nevertheless, I persevered. Going big and not going home, I ordered the Double Saltine Burger with a side of Gravy Fries as my foodie finale. The burger came with two all-beef patties, American cheese, Leigh’s tomato, lettuce, onion, pickle, and Duke’s mayo (their secret weapon). No surprise to you, I added bacon. Typically, this entrée is paired with traditional fries. Instead, I treated myself to a fry upgrade in the largest sense and had mine topped with roast beef, gravy, gruyére cheese, and pickled chiles.

I was really trying to hurt myself, y’all. When the expediter delivered my final dish, she whispered “I envy you right now” and I didn’t blame her. This thing looked like it had descended from the heavens. When I took my first bite, it was indeed heavenly. The patties were hand pressed and well-seasoned. The toppings were fresh, the bun was fantastic, and that Duke’s mayo made my palate do a happy dance. I graciously requested a to-go box for the remainder of my dish and carefully peeled myself from the table. This visit with Saltine was a score, from greet to the exit of my seat.

The Service: My server was Zachary and he was phenomenal. I never saw the bottom of my glass of sweet tea, all thanks to his swift attention and service.

Do you frequent Saltine Restaurant frequently? If so, be sure to sign up for their Rewards program, where you earn 1 point for every $1 you spend. I’m not ashamed to say I’m joining very soon.

 

Carlyn Hicks

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

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