Jackson County has its fair share of good places to eat, from James Beard nominated Alex Perry’s place, Vestige, in Ocean Springs, lots of po-boy places, Tex-Mex, Vietnamese and even a snow cone stand or two. But there is one more category, one of my favorites, where we also excel, and that is gas station restaurants.
Its pretty easy to see how gas station food has evolved over the years, from offering junk food, coffee and maybe a biscuit for breakfast, but today’s foodies and folks on-the-go demand more. It’s never going to be a fine dining environment, no wine cards, no charcuterie, but you will find some very, very good, soul satisfying, comfort food.
Perhaps the most famous in the state are the Biscuit Pit in Grenada, and Delta Fast Food in Cleveland, but Jackson County should be on that best of the best list as well. What used to be Fayard’s, now Marathon on Washington Street in St Martian, has a stellar reputation, offering food by Fat Baby and Alises. They may be most famous for their po-boys, with seventeen to choose from, but they also have sandwiches, burgers, and some pretty amazing smoked boudin, and pepper jack boudin balls, made by Smokehouse Bayou. If you haven’t been, then get your driving shoes on and head out to St Martin.
Just down the street, no more than a mile or so, is Big B’s Exxon, which is home to Brooms Grocery and Diner. If you have ever been to Broom’s buffet on Government Street in Ocean Springs, you will know the type of hearty, deeply satisfying food that Brooms is famous for and it is exactly what you will get at Big B’s. There is a daily special, for just $7.99, that will make your day better, no matter how crazy it has been. Expect porkchops on Monday, meatloaf on Tuesday, pot roast beef on Wednesday, Salisbury steak on Thursday, and fish on Friday, tons of sides and some amazing fried chicken as well. I tried the fish, chicken, mac and cheese, dressing with gravy, green beans and a good bread pudding for dessert, and absolutely every bite was delicious.
If you hale from Pascagoula you have already been asking about In and Out stop, right? Its another great spot, but features seafood mostly. Lots of seafood dinners and platters, and interesting sides like turkey necks, hushpuppies, stuffed crab, fried mac and cheese crawfish in season. Check it out.
Food Express in Gautier has quite a following, and offers has egg rolls, shrimp rolls, hot dogs, low main, fried rice, fried chicken and burgers, and a bunch more. Don’t let the exterior put you off, the food is good, and a stop here is worth your time.
There are also a handful of gas stations that have Subways, or other fast food chains that will do when you are in a bind. Dodge’s has pretty good fried chicken, egg rolls, and a few other things. There are a few more stations, what you might think of as the bottom of the gas station food chain, that have nothing more than hot dogs, cold sandwiches, and a few other odds and ends. Sorry, but yuck.
Gas station restaurants are a food venue that you should explore. The pepper jack cheese boudin at Marathon station in St. Martin are delicious, as are the po-boys, and everything you get at Brooms Grocery and Diner are the things food dreams are made of. I couldn’t eat at every place I found, but they are all on my bucket list of places I need to get to soon. Hope to see you there!