Not only do we have a bevy of great restaurants to visit, like Vestige, Jacks by the Tracks, Brackish Waters, the Green House on Porter, and so many more, but what about Rouses? Have you seen their imported Sicilian unfiltered olive oil, Italian gnocchi, amazing imported canned tomatoes, not to mention Mississippi grown Delta Blues rice, locally grown produce, all the real deal Parmigiano Reggiano you could ask for, plus dozens of other good cheeses? Shazam.
Perhaps the most important events in my culinary world of late has been the reopening of Lovelace Drug Store and Soda Fountain, and Jocelyn’s, now called Patrick’s. It is deeply disturbing to lose a local restaurant tradition, but doubly exciting when one is revived.
Lovelace has been closed for ages, some doubted that it would ever reopen, but, my friend, some good things take time. A shoddy job could have been completed much sooner, but Lovelace was done right: walk into this place and you are transported back to the 1950s, with candy apple red booths, chrome counter stools line the real-deal soda fountain, and you are confronted with a menu that is way, way cool.
All the traditional offerings are there, with sundaes, floats and other ice cream-based goodies, but you are going to love the creative flair that makes this place as special as it is. Check out the Elvis Sundae, with peanut butter, bacon bits, banana, and vanilla ice cream. If you are not feeling adventurous, just go for a classic banana split, but don’t leave this place without trying one of their ice cream specialties.
There are also burgers, a really good hot dog or two and a good list of sandwiches. If you are from Ocean Springs and of a certain age, you will be delighted to find pink ladies are still on the menu. It’s a secret recipe from the 1950s that was popular with the young ladies. My weakness is for the simple cherry coke or a chocolate shake, but Lovelace has also invested in a substantial espresso machine, so your caffeine fix can be had as well.
Patrick Bousqueto is Jocelyn’s grandson and grew up learning how to cook in her kitchen. Don’t worry about a menu that only pays a passing nod to Jocelyn’s cooking, this is a faithful presentation of the way things always were. You are not going to find any fusion of any sort here, no fancy French influences, and certainly no immersion circulator, but what you will find is really good food, prepared in a traditional Gulf Coast way. Patrick’s is all about Coastal and Creole cooking traditions: it is hearty, delicious and unpretentious.
Patrick has remodeled the place, but it remains cozy and comfortable. The bar has been upgraded as well, but don’t expect any big surprises, just a very friendly place, you are sure to feel at home, and food that will delight you.
Don’t get me wrong, I am just as interested in what great young chefs like Alex Perry of Vestige are up to. Farm to table and seasonal cooking is way cool, but a step back in time can be a wonderful experience, and, sadly, there are so few of the old places left. Make sure to check out Patrick’s and Lovelace Soda Fountain next time you are in downtown Ocean Springs.