Jackson County is home to many amazing local restaurants. Not only does the area obviously offer some incredible seafood, but there are so many different kinds of cuisines available just within the city limits of Ocean Springs. Downtown Ocean Springs is home to restaurants that offer steaks, seafood, pizza, barbecue, Mediterranean dishes, Southern favorites and so many more. Thanks to events like Taste of Ocean Springs, community members are able to sample all of that food in one place in one night.
Featuring 20 different restaurants and 10 different wine brokers, the 9th Annual Taste of Ocean Springs Food and Wine Festival was sold out with everyone excited for this unique event.
“We sold 500 tickets this year, so we have an amazing crowd and in addition to that we have a lot of fun stuff this year,” explained Cynthia Sutton, Executive Director with the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce. “We’re featuring a master potter Anita Hughes, so we have her vases on all the tables. We partnered with Mercedes-Benz, and we’re showing some of their cars here. We’re doing some fun giveaways with our partners like Golden Nugget, so it’s just a lot of great things happening here.”
However, with all of the wonderful additions to the event, everyone gathered at the L & N Depot for the star of the night: the food. The evening breeze carried the enticing aromas through downtown. The crowd looked like something out of My Fair Lady with the dress code asking attendees to dress in red, white or black, adding to the elegant atmosphere of the outdoor festival.
So many different dishes were available at Taste of Ocean Springs that anyone could have found a dish to enjoy. French Kiss Pastries offered a decadent Tuxedo Cake with chocolate and espresso. Greenhouse on the Porter had a light chocolate chip biscuit. Chefs from the Mary C. Cafe at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural center offered Chipotle Sweet Potato Biscuits with Beer and Bacon Jam. McElroy’s had shrimp and grits as well as seafood gumbo samples. Vestige allowed attendees to sample a grilled pork loin. Different pizzas were offered from Tom’s Extreme Pizzeria as well as Marco’s Pizza for anyone that wanted felt the need for some comfort food.
Anyone looking for something to wash all of this amazing food down did not have to look far, because it felt like every other booth offered a unique cocktail. Mango sangria made with tequila, Mississippi Mules based with honey suckle vodka distilled in the Magnolia State and so many more concoctions were available for sampling.
Not only did this event allow community members to sample different dishes from Ocean Springs restaurants, but it also served to benefit the local economy of downtown Ocean Springs.
“It brings a big economic impact to the Gulf Coast and Jackson County,” Cynthia explained. “We have people come from all over that will stay in our boutique hotels and spend the night just to be able to attend this event. Restaurants will get new customers out of this event, and it showcases the best that Jackson County has to offer.”
As for what’s in store next for Ocean Springs, Free Food Fridays is continuing through the month of May, and Ocean Springs Restaurant Week will begin May 13 to further celebrate the dining culture of Ocean Springs.