A few visits to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, brought me up close and personal with some of the best food and drinks in the southern region of the United States. No lie! The sheer number of local restaurants (and we are talking high-quality, creative dishes, delicious restaurants) is staggering. And then there is the beer scene. Hattiesburg, “Hub City,” is home to some of the best beer in the state. Here are the best restaurants in Hattiesburg (in alphabetical order) that you won’t want to miss, and what’s really good to eat from each one!
This article was originally published in January 2020 and updated in December 2021.
You may already know Chef Katie Dixon, a beautiful lady with a bubbly personality, as a Food Network Star season 14 Finalist. I love Chef Katie’s Birdhouse Cafe because her nutrition background influences her meal planning. Then there is the way she executes clean eating dishes that taste superb.
Daily specials at the Birdhouse Cafe are listed on a giant chalkboard, with dishes ranging from creative salads to gourmet sandwiches and coffee drinks. Or you may want to consider some of the restaurant staples, such as Katie’s Curry Chicken Salad, the best I’ve ever had. If you are an Acai Bowl fan or maybe have never tried one, you are in for a treat!
The Birdhouse Cafe Grave Digger’s Daughter Acai Bowl is pleasing to the palate, cool, and crunchy, with a mouthful of healthy goodness in each bite. The hemp granola and cashews were really great on the top to add crunch to the creamy dish. Add a smoothie or glass of flavored iced tea to your meal for a refreshing drink.
Crescent City Grill
Crescent City Grill is one of Chef Robert St. John’s restaurants in Hattiesburg. My daughter, Taylor, absolutely loves it, especially the Crabmeat Wontons. The menu consists of New Orleans-inspired seafood and creole dishes with an impressive wine and beer list to compliment the delectable food.
Appealing appetizers include Blackened Shrimp Pie, Chargrilled Oysters, and Boudin and Shrimp Fritters. Naturally, gumbo, corn and crab bisque, and Po’boys are on the menu. Crescent City Grill Grill gets fresh seafood shipped in from the Gulf Coast and New Orleans every day of the week, so the fresh catch is always a good choice.
Thanks to Visit Hattiesburg for hosting my travels and a portion of my food. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
Depot Kitchen & Market
Depot Kitchen & Market is a specialty coffee house and home to the best breakfast of the year in my book. Serving breakfast and lunch under the direction of Chef Josh Casper, Depot Kitchen & Market’s food is so mouth-watering good that you must try it.
I tried the Bru’s Breakfast Bowl, a cheddar biscuit topped with sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheddar. While this sounds like a typical menu item, it was so much more.
The cheddar biscuit was breakfast perfection. The sausage gravy was creamy and zesty, with perfect consistency and richness. Crispy bacon and gorgeous eggs topped the concoction while fresh green onions added the bite of freshness to tie all the flavors together. This is a Southerner’s dream plate.
Ed’s Burger Joint
Another Chef Robert St. John restaurant is Ed’s Burger Joint, my favorite of his group. Ed’s is relaxed and has a fun vibe that very much reminds me of being at a Margaritaville Resort. There is indoor/outdoor seating, plus a great selection of outdoor games to play. Colorful lights add warmth and make the eatery feel very casual and inviting. You order at the counter, and then the waitstaff runs your order out to your table when it is ready.
Burgers and shakes are all the rage, plus fries, tots, sweet potato fries, and onion rings. I picked the Jam Burger with bacon jam, grilled onions, and shredded cheddar from the list of very tantalizing ingredient combinations. The burger was top-notch, but my family’s favorite dish was the Buffalo Tots we ordered for sharing. Mmm, mmm, good. These are the best tots I’ve ever had.
Ed’s Burger Joint’s menu also has several hot dogs and salads to pick from. Might I recommend the Banana Pudding Shake—which was so good that I drank it before even starting on my meal.
Fresh beef and fresh buns are two items they are proud to promote.
El Rayo is Hattiesburg’s answer for a sophisticated menu of Mexican eats. We took the whole family to this colorful, festive, and fun restaurant for a load of tasty foods. The first thing that drew me in was an entire queso menu, not just one kind like most restaurants. We opted for the trio (duh!) with samples of queso Tex, queso Mex, and smoked gouda queso with chips. Nom! Why don’t all Mexican restaurants have a queso flight like this one?
Pair your appetizers with a blood orange jalapeño margarita, Mexican beer, or glass of sangria.
Next up—main courses. We had a table full of people, so our choices ranged from quesadillas to fajitas and tacos to rancho skillets. My dish, the Cantina Skillet, was the best of all, with grilled chicken on a bed of Mexican rice with white queso, grilled peppers and onions, and jalapeños. Cool, fresh avocado, tortilla strips, and crema were the icing on the cake. Every bite was so rich and creamy.
I must also mention that the dining rooms at El Rayo are so stylish and fun. All walks of life and all ages were dining here for lunch during our visit. I could easily see that the comfortable seating and twinkling lights added a lot to the ambiance and overall guest experience.
Glory Bound Gyro Co.
A casual restaurant that offers indoor and outdoor seating, live music, and excellent service from the bar staff is Glory Bound Gyro Co. I liked it even before reading the menu and tasting the food. Glory Bound Gyro’s tagline is “craft hummus x unique gyros x craft beer,” which pretty much sums it up in a nutshell. Besides Hattiesburg, there are two other locations: Ocean Springs, MS, and Tuscaloosa, AL.
I chose a classic gyro plate, and my husband had the chicken gyro plate. Our food was excellent, and there was plenty of it. Plates come with the meat of your choice, a side of hummus, pita bread, lettuce, onions, tzatziki, and grilled veggies. My favorite thing at Glory Bound Gyro Co. was the craft-made hummus varieties, which included original, Mediterranean olive, garlic-basil, spinach-pesto, jalapeño-cilantro, and roasted red pepper. I picked the garlic-basil, and it was 10/10 good.
Are you not feeling Mediterranean food? No worries. Glory Bound also offers pizza. Check out trivia on Monday nights.
Being a big fan of Indian cuisine, I always look for a local Indian eatery while traveling. I found Indian Delight, a really good one, in Hattiesburg. My husband and I went in hopes of a lunch buffet, but it was only available on weekdays. Instead, we ended up ordering from the regular menu and had enough food to take home leftovers for another day.
I had the Butter Chicken, which was flavorful and filling, served with just the right amount of heat and rice. My husband chose the Tandoori Chicken, roasted in a clay oven, a new dish for him. We also shared the Mix Bread Basket appetizer, which gave us five (Naan, Garlic Naan, Roti, Kalaunji Naan) bread options, and it was fun to have a sampling, plus four condiments to eat with them.
Expect attentive service, good food, and reasonable prices at Indian Delight.
Keg & Barrel
Keg and Barrel is Mississippi’s premier beer emporium and brewpub, featuring more than 120 different beers. There are two locations in Hattiesburg and one in Ocean Springs.
Upscale pub food includes the KB chicken nachos and Greek dip duo, while Southern favorites feature house-made fried pork rinds and boiled peanuts. I could eat that dip duo every day—it was spectacular!
Keg and Barrel has indoor and outdoor seating, a lively atmosphere, and a historic tap that you have to see to appreciate. Burgers are all the rage here, and with creations like Korean BBQ (kimchi, carrots, green onions, Korean bbq, and garlic mayo), you can see how irresistible they can be.
If you are a brunch fan, visit on Sundays from 11 AM to 2 PM. Be sure to order the Beignet Bites!
I had been planning a visit to The Midtowner on my next visit to Hattiesburg, and boy did it deliver. The Midtowner serves breakfast and lunch in an unassuming retro-looking cafe. My husband and I bellied up to the bar to avoid the long wait times and were treated to superb service and fantastic food.
The Midtowner’s cathead biscuits are so darned good, but the pancakes, waffles, and French toast that we watched firsthand pouring out of the kitchen to guests’ tables made choosing between the two very hard. I went with the Dirty Bird, a locals’ favorite. He decided on the Hardy Breakfast, with eggs, two pancakes, your choice of breakfast meat. Thank goodness he picked stone-ground grits over potatoes because they were exceptional!
My Dirty Bird starts with an open-faced biscuit topped with fried chicken tenders, drizzled with sausage gravy and cheddar cheese, plus I added the buffalo chicken option. Oh my, this was one plate of deliciousness—and I’m pretty sure calories did not count on my first visit.
Mugshots Grill & Bar
If you haven’t been to a Mugshots yet, you are in for a real treat. This laid-back spot excels in burger creations, salads, sandwiches, and cold beer. Often named Best Burger in Mississippi, Mugshots has a menu of original and specialty burgers that make it entirely hard to choose just one. The Gamble is a real popular one, stacked high with chili, housemade Rotel, sour cream, jalapeños, and lettuce. It’s messy but worth it!
Join the Mugshots eClub and get a free burger on your birthday.
Patio 44 is a restaurant I was familiar with after dining there in Coastal Mississippi, so I’m glad to see that Hattiesburg has been privy to getting one, too. You’ll find all your favorite dishes in the line of American elevated bar food and dinners at Patio 44, with experienced servers and quality ingredients.
The menu varies per location, but I like to start my dining experience with the Blue Crab Fondue, served with toasted baguette, or the Duck Strips with remoulade, unlike anything I’ve ever had. My favorite dinner item is the Sweet-Hot Pecan Chicken, with a roasted garlic mash. The sweet hot pecan sauce that comes over the chicken is finger-licking good. Patio 44 also has an exceptional wine menu and craft cocktail creations. Save room for dessert—the praline cheesecake is yummy.
FYI: Patio 44 has a lunch menu, so you can save a few bucks by going for your mid-day meal.
Porter Public House Beer
Simply known as The Porter, this is Hattiesburg’s public house, offering American pub grub and fine regional craft beer. Sounds like a combination for success to me.
The Porter’s atmosphere is down-to-earth and friendly. Beer, the star feature here, is served on tap, in bottles, or cans, and you can choose beer brewed by The Porter (Berliner Weisse is so good!) or other domestic and international favorites. Wine and cocktails are also on the menu. Pair your drink with Chicken & Waffles, a Philly Cheesesteak, or Pub Meatloaf.
The Porter also has nightly events such as Tuesday Trivia and Open Mic Comedy Night Thursdays.
Shady Acres Village
A few minutes from Hattiesburg (in Seminary), Shady Acres Village was a nice lunch stop for my family and me. We considered the hot food bar but decided on old-school faves like a hot ham & cheese sandwich, cheeseburger (fresh, never frozen beef), and pulled pork bbq plate. I loved the side choices for my bbq meal; baked beans and potato salad. They were every bit as delicious as the main course.
My husband enjoyed the Asian grilled chicken salad with mandarin oranges, crispy noodles, and a delicious sweet sesame dressing. After gobbling up our lunches, we crammed in a serving of perfect banana pudding. So good and refreshing. I would definitely eat at Shady Acres Village again.
T-Bones Records & Cafe
T-Bones Records & Cafe is a Hattiesburg gem with an exceptional coffee bar, full menu, vinyl record store, and music-related memorabilia. The counter-serve eatery is inside the super cool record shop, offering wraps, sandwiches, quiche, homemade pastries, and an enormous selection of desserts.
Locally owned and operated T-Bones has a friendly and helpful staff and affordable prices. Browse the store’s selection while you wait for your food to be prepared, or grab a seat in the dining room, and they will bring it to you. The restaurant’s music choice was enjoyable. We really liked the lunchtime playlist.
Harry’s Triple Cheese Sandwich (Swiss, Cheddar, and Pepper Jack) and the Greek Chicken Wrap (a daily special) are both delicious lunch options. Try the homemade potato salad side. Coffee choices include cold brew, lattes, mochas, chai, and espresso.
A new place that I visited in Hattiesburg was Topher’s, which offers indoor dining or a drive through. I liked the looks of it immediately, and it was always busy when I drove by. Finally, we picked up some dinner to bring home with us. Topher’s specializes in homemade biscuits and breakfast fare, fresh ground meat burgers, and chicken.
Topher’s offers your choice of artisan brioche or sweet sourdough buns for all burgers and sandwiches. Instead, we chose tossed, hand-battered chicken tenders in your choice of wing and dipping sauces. I swear by the classic hot buffalo. If you need a little something extra with your meal, the pepper jack cheese wedges are nom.
Where to Stay in Hattiesburg, MS
The Holiday Inn Hattiesburg North is a chain hotel offering stylish interiors, an outdoor saltwater pool, an onsite restaurant (Burger Theory), and complimentary Wifi. The lobby is truly stunning and the first facelift the Holiday Inn Hotel chain has had in numerous years.
Rooms are spacious, have plenty of places to unpack and stay awhile, a desk area, and a comfortable bed. I appreciated the tech-savvy outlets and charging sites hidden in the furnishings. The pop of coral in the lamps and carpet added a subtle artistic flair to the hotel room.
Kids (18 and under) always stay free when sharing their parents’ room, plus those 11 and under (limit four) eat free at the restaurant any time of day.
Hattiesburg Restaurant Week
A unique offering in Hattiesburg is Restaurant Week. 2021 marked the fourth year for Hattiesburg’s Restaurant Week. The theme was specialty hamburgers, and dozens of businesses took part. For one week, the town encouraged visitors and locals to check out their local restaurant scene and the special offerings they created for Restaurant Week.
You’ll definitely want to look for this event next year.
Hattiesburg: Mmm, Mmm, Good
I’m here to tell you that Hattiesburg, Mississippi is a great place for getting your delicious food fix. I loved every bite I took, and can’t wait to start the planning another trip.
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