by Rebecca Fending
If you find yourself in Ridgeland for the Chimneyville Arts Festival this weekend (this is the second weekend for this year’s COVID-friendly, restructured event), you’ll want to make the short trip to Jackson for your meals.
With a host of restaurants featuring nearly every type of cuisine, the City With Soul is your stop for fantastic food this weekend. Here are just a few restaurants that are sure to make your festival experience even better.
Drago’s Seafood Restaurant – 1005 E County Line Rd
This Louisiana-style seafood restaurant has every seafood item you could ever dream of. From Maine lobster to a rotating catch of the day, to their original charbroiled oysters on the half shell, seafood lovers shall not want when dining at Drago’s.
For an appetizer, Drago’s has both delectable and venturesome options that are great to share with company. Blackened gator tail meat is topped with arugula, pico de gallo and Cajun aioli to create their alligator tacos. Or if alligator doesn’t sound appealing, try their tuna with aioli, made with sushi-grade raw tuna, wasabi dressing and Cajun aioli.
For your entrée, order for the creole fish for an authentic taste of Louisiana—seasoned and baked trout served over rice and topped with Drago’s Louisiana-style red sauce, or a pasta plate with your choice of seafood protein.
Drago’s bar menu has several specialty cocktails such as The Queen of New Orleans, made with vodka, elderflower liqueur, cucumber-infused simple syrup, mint and ginger ale.
To see more of their menu and keep up with their hours, visit Drago’s on Jackson’s Facebook page, facebook.com/dragosjackson.
Barrelhouse – 3009 N State St
Described as a “Southern gastropub,” this restaurant is unique in every sense of the word. With a Southern twist added to the rise in popularity of modern gastropubs, Barrelhouse proudly offers their one-of-a-kind food and drink menus.
Menus change with product availability and seasons, promising an entirely fresh meal no matter how many times you dine at Barrelhouse. Currently on the menu is fried catfish, braised pork shoulder and classics such as shrimp and grits and Cajun pasta. There’s even a daily plate lunch.
Feeling more adventurous? Try the tuna poke nachos: a base of wonton chips loaded with ahi tuna, seaweed salad, sesame seeds, Hawaiian sauce and spicy aioli. This dish is perfect for sharing with the table or keeping it all to yourself.
To keep up with Barrelhouse’s changing menus, visit barrelhousems.com.
Hal & Mal’s – 200 Commerce St
Co-founded by Jackson brothers Hal and Malcolm White, this family-owned and operated restaurant is a local favorite for food and entertainment. With classic Southern specials made fresh every day like fried catfish, shrimp po’boys and gumbo, it’s no wonder they’ve been a city staple since 1985.
Hal & Mal’s also has lighter menu items such as their Salad Vivian, a bed of fresh spinach and salad greens topped with grilled chicken, boiled egg, black olives and tomato.
However, Hal & Mal’s is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, so be sure to grab a bite from this place on Friday if you’re planning for your festival eats.
To learn more about Hal & Mal’s, visit their website at halandmals.com.
Elvie’s – 809 Manship St
Named after Chef Hunter Evans’ grandmother, Elvaretta, Elvie’s is another Jackson spot where both locals and visitors can’t get enough of the great atmosphere and even better food. Their day menu has a classic New Orlean’s inspired spin seen in items like their signature French omelets, Croque madame and eggs Cochon.
Due to the current public health regulations surrounding the industry, Elvie’s is currently offering a seven-course tasting menu in addition to items from their permanent one. Their current tasting menu features dishes such as pork adobo with braised bok choy, pickled daikon, amaranth leaf, adobo jus and Thai basil, as well as fall spiced venison with watercress puree and baby turnip.
However, if you’d rather stop in for something lighter or more familiar, you can order off-menu for raw bar items, charcuterie boards, sandwiches and even their classic steak frites.
To learn more about Elvie’s and their menus (including an extensive cocktail menu), visit elviesrestaurant.com for more.
The Iron Horse Grill – 320 W Pearl St
Born anew from ashes, The Iron House Grill is a crucial piece of Mississippi’s culture and history. Initially a smokehouse in 1906, this restaurant is still kicking and serving up fresh Southern dishes every day of the week.
Start with an order of their new Soul City Seafood Dip or Soul Train Hot Wings to get your taste buds ready for the main course, as their French cut pork chop served with muscadine chipotle glaze, loaded baked potato and fresh asparagus.
In the mood for something citrusy and fresh? Try the citrus chicken, an orange and lime marinated grilled chicken breast, topped with Pico de Gallo, served with loaded baked potato and fresh vegetable of the day.
If you’re thirsty, Iron Horse has you covered. With handcrafted cocktails made with locally distilled spirits, you’re sure to leave satisfied. Try the Etta James, a cocktail made with fresh muddled strawberries, basil, lime, simple syrup and Cathead Distillery vodka.
For more history about Iron Horse and their complete menu, visit theironhorsegrill.com.