Looking to return to good old-fashioned home cooking? Try these small-town Mississippi ‘meat and three’ restaurants.

Published 12:55 pm Thursday, July 13, 2023

Looking to return to the days when the best lunch in town consisted of a meat and three. Well, look no further than these three small-town Mississippi restaurants that specialize in the best of down-home cooking:

The B.T.C. Old Fashioned Grocery in Water Valley

At the B.T.C. at 301 North Main Street, they have a special name for the lunches that Miz Yolanda Ramsey serves — these delectable dishes are called the “Blue Devil Slap-Yo-Mama” plate lunches, and they are not to be missed. 

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From their renowned meatloaf served with steamed red potatoes, sautéed skillet carrots and green beans to their mouth-watering pulled pork served with seasoned rice, skillet Brussels sprouts and roasted sweet potatoes, including your choice of roll or cornbread, these plates are not to be missed.

And if the lunch plate is not for you, you can always opt for Landi’s Famous Salad, the Club Sammy, or the BTC Banh Mi. The BTC kitchen also includes homemade chicken salad, pimento cheese, baked goods, take-and-bake casseroles, and more!

And don’t forget dessert, including key lime pie cups and Aunt Delle’s Banana Pudding.

According to the B.T.C. website, the B.T.C. was the daydream of Alexe van Beuren, a Virginian transplant to the small town of Water Valley, Mississippi. Inspired by the possibilities of the historic brick building her husband, Kagan Coughlin, had bought and single-handedly rescued, Alexe decided to combine her love of food, story, and place into a store like no other. A place where women in church hats and men off of trucks would mingle and where there’s a playhouse just for children. She’s been happily selling vegetables, honey, every local product she can get her hands on, and imported treats like fresh wild-caught fish, Italian and French cheeses, good coffee, and sourdough bread since May 1st, 2010. 

News Restaurant in Meridian

Since 1935, this family-owned restaurant has been serving up delicious food to eaters in Meridian and beyond. The restaurant at 5020 Poplar Springs Drive has become a tradition in East Mississippi.

Just a look at the Daily Lunch — handwritten in chalk on the restaurant’s menu board — will have you reaching for your car keys.

Meat selections include hamburger steak, country fried steak, grilled pork chops and fried catfish.

In the summertime, the daily lunch special is filled with seasonal vegetables, like purple hull peas, speckled butter beans, fried okra and glazed carrots.

For those who like sweets, News serves up big slices of Black Bottom Pie, Coconut Cream Pie, Pecan Pie and Lemon Pie, while they last. Hint: You might want to order a slice when you order your lunch.

Pearl’s Diner in Laurel 

For more than five years, Pearl Campbell has been serving home-cooked meals at the restaurant she opened in downtown Laurel, nearly 34 years after she left home.

Campbell’s diner, at 330 N Magnolia Street, was featured in the second season of HGTV’s Hometown with Ben and Erin Napier. Since then people from across the globe have come to Laurel and to Pearl’s Diner to experience the diner’s delicious food and energetic atmosphere.

Campbell said she got her inspiration to own her own restaurant from her grandmother, Mrs. Sarah Duncan, who owned Duncan’s Grocery, which had a restaurant inside. It was located on South 8th Avenue in Laurel and Duncan served the residents of Laurel for over 50 years from the early 30s through the 70s. Duncan also raised Pearl and her siblings after Pearl’s mother died. They lovingly called her Momma. A photo of her hangs in the diner today.

Now Campbell serves customer blue plate specials — including fried chicken, fried pork chops, macaroni and cheese, black-eyed peas and other mouth-watering dishes. If you leave room for dessert, there is banana pudding, strawberry cake and more.