by Julian Brunt
There is just no other restaurant or bar that compares to the classic Southern dive.
More often than not, their character was built over the years, so genuinely ingrained into the city’s history, without fuss, fanfare or trends. Menus are often proven over time and don’t fluctuate much: they know what their customer is there for!
Dive in, JXN and find a new favorite hole-in-the-wall, or rediscover a spot that’s been yours all along.
CS’s – 1359 West Street
Open since 1978, CS’s greets customers with a comfortable and casual feel that can only be found at the best of any city’s dives. They’re a popular gathering spot with eclectically decorated walls, pool tables, cold beer and unique burger offerings.
Try the Inez burger- topped with homemade chili, nacho cheese, and jalapeños – a CS’s specialty that is particularly popular with the late-night college crowd. This burger and other specialty burgers such as the Suzy, the Pat, and the Joe B, are all part of owner Pat Boland’s habit of naming menu items after employees and customers.
Menu items also include smothered, cheesy fries, hot dogs and hot plates of Southern classics.
To learn more and stay up to date, visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/cssrestaurant.
Beatty Street Grocery – 101 Beatty Street
Beatty Street Grocery is a grocery store and burger joint, but famous for its fried bologna sandwich (deep-fried, golden crispy and brown) and a sausage sandwich, made with spicy sausage, on Texas toast white bread and melted American cheese. Order these with a side of the loaded chili cheese crinkle fries, and you’ve got yourself a meal.
Stay up-to-date with Beatty Street Grocery at facebook.com/BeattyStreetGrocery.
Hal & Mal’s – 200 Commerce Street
Established in 1985 by two brothers, Hal and Malcolm White, this local favorite sits in the heart of Downtown.
They self-describe as offering “Southern fare with regional flair, drinks and music in a multi-roomed venue with a funky retro vibe,” and it shows in the menu.
Hal & Mal’s has everything from locally-caught-catfish tacos to red beans and rice and Creole carbonara. It is a city landmark, and if you have any interest in Southern food and great music, this is the place for you.
Learn more at halandmals.com.
Fenian’s Pub – 901 East Fortification Street
Fenian’s has been around since 1996. This restaurant is a sit-down place with that great pub feel to it and a lovely Irish-inspired menu.
Look for curry poutine (chips, sharp cheddar cheese and curry sauce), Scotch eggs made with Irish sausage, farm eggs, pickled onions and mustard, and leek and potato soup. The menu also boasts burgers, “paddy” melts and a Mississippi Reuben sandwich. You can’t leave without trying the famous whiskey bread pudding and Guinness chocolate pot de crème.
See the full menu at fenianspub.com.
Martin’s Downtown – 214 State Street
Martin’s Downtown has been open since 1953, offering great food and live music. It originally began as a breakfast place and has grown into a classic Southern pub. With live music scheduled throughout the week, this is a popular spot for entertainment, tasty food and gathering with friends.
Favorite menu items include the 1953 hamburger steak, made with handcrafted 100% Angus Beef, served with grilled onions, gravy and two sides. Other top offerings include fried catfish, fried chicken, Martin’s patty melt, seafood po’boys, Philly steak and cheese and country fried steak.
Learn more at martinsdowntownjxn.com.
E&L BBQ – 1111 Bailey Avenue
E&L BBQ was started by Eddie and Lula 30 years ago and is still going strong. This restaurant is a no-frills kind of place, serving down-home specialties like pulled pork, ribs and fried chicken. Local customers think E&L offers the best ribs in town, and the wings and fries, dipped sausage and rib tips are all popular items, too.
E&L also has classic sides that pair perfectly with whatever entrée you order, like potato salad beans, fries. If you want to try a true Southern classic, check out the pig ear sandwich!
Stay in the know with E&L BBQ at facebook.com/EandLBBQ.
*This site covers a variety of restaurants and cuisines, though not always in the same post. Is this list missing your favorites? Search the blog for more content or add your favorites to the comments.