(UPDATED APRIL 2022) There are so many great places to eat in Tupelo, Mississippi (the birthplace of Elvis Presley), that it can be daunting to select the best of the best. Tripadvisor mentions over 170 to choose from that run the gamut from Mexican to Southern-cuisine, farm-to-table to gourmet pizza. Here is a look at the best restaurants (our favorites) and where the locals eat in Tupelo, MS, plus what is really good at that particular restaurant. Be assured that your taste buds will be pleased as punch from this yummy post.
Known as Tupelo’s home for live music, to me, Blue Canoe is a restaurant I had been wanting to visit since reading about it in a Southern cooking magazine years ago. Blue Canoe is a fun and funky restaurant with a most interesting menu, fresh ingredients, and incredible live music. Their selection of craft beer is extensive and the food, creative and absolutely delicious!
For starters, go with the Caribbean Edamame with jerk seasoning or the Crack Dip Fries, utterly life-changing, with a spicy sausage cheese dip over hand-cut potatoes.
I had the Avocado Wedges (with crawfish!) instead of a traditional entree, but the Pork & Greens is one of the most popular, with pulled pork, cheese grits, greens, and cornbread. Another hot commodity are the Chicken and Waffle (bourbon maple syrup). Be sure to save room for Connie’s Blueberry Doughnut Bread Pudding, an award-winning dish that is out of this world. This is the kinda place you get a little South in your mouth!
Butterbean Biscuits and Coffee
A little off the beaten path, this eye-catching coffee shop with a relaxed atmosphere is a place I could hang out in for hours. Colorful murals on the wall added to the already welcoming vibe. The lavender cold brew was exceptional, as was my biscuit with sausage and two choices of gravy, my top pick of the breafkast menu.
The concept at Butterbean is that you design the breakfast you want, with each item priced a la carte. Mine ended up being a $6 breakfast ($1 each for the 4 oz gravy portions), which I thought was really reasonable. I’m typically a sausage gravy eater, but also wanted to try the tomato gravy, which was 10/10 yummy. I can see why it is on so many Mississippi menus.
Sweet Tea & Biscuits Cafe
The Sweet Tea & Biscuits Cafe is a family operated business serving homemade Southern favorites Tuesday through Saturday. It is the epitome of southern hospitality. The recipes (soups, sandwiches, snacks, and desserts) have been passed down from the owners’ (Joan and Beverly) mother.
Although the restaurant is popular with Tupelo locals, it has also been featured in Paula Deen’s Magazine. If you don’t have time to stop in and eat lunch, pick up a casserole or dessert from the Take Home Freezer.
My daughter, Taylor, and her husband Blake, visited Sweet Tea & Biscuits Cafe during lunch. Taylor had the Homemade Pimento and Cheese Sandwich (with tomato and spring greens) while Blake ordered Momma’s Famous Chicken Salad Sandwich.
Not just any chicken salad, but a hearty salad of mixed spring greens, tomatoes, toasted almonds, and juicy sliced red grapes. They finished their lunch by sharing a slice of Strawberry Cake, but swear the best parts of their meals were the Southern Sweet Tea and friendly staff.
Romie’s Grocery has a super fun atmosphere, indoor and outdoor dining, and a killer menu. One of Romie’s best menu items is the traditional meat + 3 meal deal, with a choice of entree, three sides, and a piece of cornbread or dinner roll.
Romie’s meal + 3 is $8, a total steal! Meat choices change daily but might feature fried or grilled chicken tenders, salmon patties, or fried chicken. Side dishes range from fried green tomatoes and fruit to purple hull peas, and deviled eggs. I had the deviled eggs (2 pieces) and they were Southern perfection.
If the plate lunch isn’t your kind of meal, Romie’s also has salads, sandwiches, pizza, nachos, and chips & Rotel for lunch. All those items, plus pasta, catfish, and steaks are on the dinner menu.
I ate the chicken & stuffing (it’s a Mississippi thing!), deviled eggs, and green beans. It was a good choice, but I seriously could have eaten ten servings of those green beans. Wow! I had the cornbread, but it was more like a hoecake to me. Romie’s dessert choices were banana pudding, bread pudding, chocolate delight, and a lemon crunch.
The Fairpark Grill is one of the best Tupelo restaurants in the heart of downtown, and with a fabulous view of the park and wine list. “A sophisticated atmosphere with a laid-back twist, it is a place that is welcoming like a local sports bar, but provides an upscale dining experience.” Simply put, the Fairpark Grill makes patrons happy. Visit the Fairpark Grill for a great lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
Start your dinner with Fairpark Grill’s Spring Rolls (cabbage, carrots, onions, celery & Asian pork with slaw) and Panko-Crusted Fried Cheese. I also liked the ooey-gooey Mozzarella and Pepper Jack Fried Cheese. I had never had Pepper Jack in fried cheese sticks, but thoroughly enjoyed it.
For dinner, the Sriracha Chicken Sandwich (fried chicken, jack cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, and Sriracha aioli on brioche) is a great pick. The fried chicken is not at all greasy, and the Sriracha aioli was not too spicy.
My favorite dish is the Chicken Piccata— a pan-fried chicken breast with a light caper-lemon butter sauce, served with mashed potatoes & grilled asparagus. This meal rates a 10/10 score.
Neon Pig is a restaurant nestled in a strip mall setting and easily identified by the cute Purple neon pig sign above the door. Inside is a spacious dining area, cooler full of a variety of craft beers, small market with fresh produce, and an old-school butcher shop. There are grab and go items, too.
We came to eat lunch. Neon Pig is a full-service restaurant, but you serve yourself fountain sodas and tea. The Smashburger, voted Best Burger in America by Thrillist, was what I had, while I was tempted to have the Gulf Shrimp Dinner (fresh seafood always at Neon Pig).
Their iconic Smashburger is a house-ground patty made from Benton’s bacon, four cut of steak, and then topped with pickled onions, pickles, cheddar cheese, hoisin, and comeback sauce. All of this yumminess sits on a ciabatta roll. The flavor is really good, and I especially liked the pickled onions.
A fun fact about Neon Pig is that they break down whole animals in-house and the produce is locally sourced. Make sure to have a butcher board, which are Instagram perfection
Crave is not only an adorable coffee shop but also has pastries and breakfast items, too. Then (it gets better), they are known around the state of Mississippi for their award-winning Skillet Cookie, named “Best Dessert in Mississippi” by Mississippi Magazine.
That and the other desserts on the menu give Crave the bragging rights of being “Tupelo’s Dessert Cafe”. If that isn’t a recipe for success, I don’t know what is.
The coffee drinks are good, and the savory scone was a nice option rather than just sweet pastries. I do wish CRAVE had a better way of displaying the desserts they offer, or a menu with pictures of each, but for my visit, the Skillet Cookie worked was perfect because we went just for that.
Please place your cast-iron skillet cookie order when you arrive because it does take about 25-30 minutes to bake. Then they doctor it all up with vanilla ice cream and drizzles of caramel and chocolate. The skillet arrives at your table very warm, so you can imagine how yummy it is with the melty chocolate chips and ice cream combination. Delicious!
Mugshots Grill & Bar
Two college friends dreamt of creating a place where customers and employees would always be “havin’ a good time” and making life grand for the community by giving back. Well, those friends have made their dream a reality with Mugshots Grill & Bar.
The restaurant serves the Sweetest Buns in the South and was voted as having the Best Burger in the state by Mississippi Magazine for 11 years in a row. Tupelo’s Mugshots has nearly 20 burger creations on the menu and a noteworthy daily happy hour with drink, appetizer, and wing specials.
When Taylor and Blake went, she tried the Parmesan Chicken Marinara Plate. Mugshots’ chicken Parmesan features a hand-battered, lightly-fried boneless chicken breast over penne pasta. It is drenched with creamy Alfredo sauce and marinara (on the side for her!) and comes with a side of Texas toast. She was a big fan. Blake had one of his favorites, a buttery Patty Melt.
Traditional burgers at Mugshots are served on their signature toasted sourdough bun, which sends them really over the top in palate-pleasing.
Clay’s House of Pig
If you want to know where to eat in Tupelo and where you can also get to-go food in one fail swoop, I recommend Clay’s House of Pig (C.H.O.P.). Clay’s is inside a bait and tackle shop but offers seating and counter service options. I preferred to order from the outside window, along with another dozen or so other patrons.
I hadn’t eaten a fried bologna sandwich in years, and since Clay’s smokes their meats in-house, I thought I would give it a try. We also ordered chicken nuggets for my granddaughter and the favorite restaurant item— the BBQ Pork Tater. It took a bit of time for our food to be prepared, but was worth the wait.
Clay’s bologna sandwich was spot on, served with a flavorful side of coleslaw. I don’t know how to describe the tater; I couldn’t make out part of the ingredients, since it was layered and in a take-away container. Coleslaw, sour cream, crunchy bacon pieces, chives, queso, the best barbecue pulled pork, jalapenos, and who knows what else covers the potato, making it insanely delicious..
Brick & Spoon
Brick & Spoon is a delightful Southern eatery serving breakfast and lunch, with an emphasis on craft cocktails, Louisiana-style dishes, and upscale dining. The vibe is casual, yet sophisticated, and brunch is a staple. You can also find live entertainment, which truly elevates your experience. There are currently 11 Brick & Spoons, but five more are slated to open in 2022.
Two excellent starters are the Bananas Foster beignets, and Bayou Green Tomatoes. My favorite main dishes at Brick & Spoon are Killer Creole Omelet, with Gulf shrimp, Tasso ham, and hollandaise, and the Corn Crab & Sweet Pepper Crepe, one of the coolest brunch creations I’ve had yet. The delicate lump crab meat is mixed with corn, sweet peppers, and onions, and topped with a mouth-watering mornay sauce, with toast points on the side. Of course you can’t go wrong with pancakes or any of the French toast dishes, either.
Kermits Outlaw Kitchen
Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen (a sister restaurant to Neon Pig), a colorful exposed brick eatery, is in a 140-year-old building on Main Street in Downtown Tupelo, Mississippi. Kermit’s offers two floors of dining space indoors and cute outdoor patios. The menu is eclectic, but the emphasis is about buying local and keeping business close to home.
I had the 6 oz portion of pulled chicken, which was a decent portion. It costs $4.50 to make it a plate, which includes two sides and your choice of cornbread or cauliflower breadsticks. I picked the healthy marinated broccoli, farro, and raisin salad for one choice, and Benton’s Bacon Mac & Cheese for the other.
My meal looked so pretty on the plate and tasted really good. The server brought me three sauces to try, all very flavorful. King sauce was my fave, a mustard bbq variety. Though I didn’t try them, Kermit’s drink menu was fantastic, with a great selection of skinny and specialty margaritas and frosés.
Strange Brew Coffeehouse
Pick up delicious pastries, sweet treats, and an arsenal of fantastic coffee and tea drinks from Strange Brew Coffeehouse. They also have really good quiche and breakfast items. The coffee shop is warm, friendly, and welcoming; a great place to get some work done or just hang out.
Tupelo’s first food truck was Local Mobile, serving NOLA style cuisine. A variety of Po-boys, sliders, and salads make up the menu. When you spot the Tiffany blue food truck with an adorable young couple at the wheel, you’ve found them. Follow Local Mobile’s Instagram or Facebook page to see where they will be and the hours they are serving.
Discover How Tasty Tupelo Is
Tupelo is growing in popularity and the food scene is a big reason why. I cannot wait to visit again and eat my way through more of Tupelo’s restaurants. On my list are Johnnie’s Drive-In and Park Heights Restaurant (with the excellent wine list).
What are your suggestions?
Many of our meals were complimentary during our Tupelo visit. As always, opinions and reviews are completely mine and unbiased.
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