Stamps Super Burgers is an institution in the city now, but when it started, it wasn’t even a restaurant.
The Stamps family purchased their grocery store and meat market on Dalton Street in 1970 – on the heels of the infamous Jackson State College (now Jackson State University) shootings in 1970. Student protests over the Kent State tragedy led to the tragic shooting deaths of two unarmed Jackson State students. The tension that surrounded the area afterwards led the former owner to sell the business to the Stamps family, and they went on to operate it as a grocery store for the next decade.
In the late 1970’s, one of the Stamps family members put a griddle in the back. But it wasn’t until around 1982 that the patriarch of the family wanted a hamburger one Sunday afternoon. He decided to head up to the store to make it himself. The rest, as they say, is history.
“It wasn’t too long before there was a line out the door,” said Al Stamps, owner.
The original vision to create a burger big enough to be a great value has resulted in a business that has thrived for decades.
Adventurous diners from across the country have discovered what locals have always known: Stamps’ burgers are some of the best they’ve ever had. The burgers themselves are thick, juicy patties that are big enough to feed even the hungriest diner. Many people around town swear by their turkey burger as well.
But if you want to try it, be prepared to eat it somewhere else. Stamps’ burgers are super, but there is limited seating, so you may have to get yours to-go. These days, wings and salads are also on the menu, so there’s something for everyone.
Several of the Stamps family members still man the store today. The family also still does very little marketing. Instead they rely on the same word of mouth that has sustained them from the beginning.
Through the years, Al Stamps has lent his burger making expertise to other burger joints in the Jackson area. Cool Al’s on McWillie Drive is actually named after him, but nonetheless, you’ll find him at the original store most days now.
The history of Mississippi is disturbing and complicated. From even the most troubling times something beautiful often emerges, and the Stamps family is a great example of this. A restaurant born from one of the city’s worst episodes is now a melting pot for all Jacksonians. Great food can do that to all of us. In the case of Stamps Super Burgers, it humanizes and unites us with one ridiculously thick, juicy, delicious, and truly super burger.
You can find Al Stamps and his Stamps Super Burgers at 1801 Dalton Street in Jackson, MS. Don’t forget to call in advance (601-352-4555), because there’s still usually a line out the door.