Hattiesburg Mississippi Restaurants keep getting ranked and voted as Best in the Pinebelt by one outlet after another. Whether you’re a local or just passing by, we’ll show you the 30 dishes you NEED to try! (before you die. Or you’ll cry. Like ordering burgers without fries.)
Already, two sentences in, we’re breaking out the rhythm and rhymes too, because that’s the way this guide is going to roll. We guarantee you’ll have more fun reading this than crowd-sourced reviews and maybe learn a thing or two about the best restaurants in Hattiesburg. Will we get every dish right and tailored to your specific wishes and desires? Absolutely not. But we’ll have every one of our Hattiesburg restaurants linked and placed on our map of places to eat in Hattiesburg MS, so you can continue your culinary conquests on your own.
We discovered the Hattiesburg food scene while riding the Longleaf Trace on a romantic getaway. We also made a point to stop in on the Hatties[burger] trail on our way down south to bike in Coastal Mississippi, New Orleans, and Beaumont. Hattiesburg called the Hub City, because it’s close to everything in southern Mississippi so you can always find a reason to stop for a bite to eat.
Map of Places to Eat in Hattiesburg Mississippi
This isn’t a complete map of places to eat in Hattiesburg Mississippi, but it’s a great start. It does cover all of our 30-dishes you need to try, and since we used the native Google Map points, there are additional photographs and information included on every pin. Click around and enjoy, and if it doesn’t load right away, hit the refresh button 😉 .
Regional Food in Hattiesburg
William Faulkner once said, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.” And to understand a place like Mississippi, you must understand its regional food. Hattiesburg is the hub city where everything and everybody comes together. Regional food in Hattiesburg includes the Creole influence coming up from New Orleans along with the warm Gulf breezes that blow in fresh seafood. Mix these with traditional Southern favorites, and you have an idea of what you’ll find in Hattiesburg restaurants presented in four hand-picked dishes.
- Strick’s BBQ – Strick’s has been a Hattiesburg staple for more than 40-years. Instead of the flash and wow of a jillion sauces, J.S. Strickland focuses on the meat, slow-cooked to perfection. Their Hickory-Smoked Pork Ribs will take you back to the time a BBQ brought everybody together for good times and gossip.
- GrateFull Soul – Soul food is basic, down-home cooking with roots in the rural South that has been passed down from generation to generation. GrateFull Soul is all of that, with one distinction. Many people consider their Fried Chicken to be the best in Mississippi. The poultry industry is the largest income-producing agricultural commodity in Mississippi and has been for the past 21 years, so that’s saying a lot.
- Poppa’s Original Wharf Seafood – Everything I need to know about Country and Western music, I learned from David Allen Coe. That is to say that the perfect country song will be about mama, trains, trucks, prison, and getting drunk. That goes for finding the perfect Gulf Coast restaurant, too. Someplace with poppas, original, wharves, and seafood. And having found the perfect Gulf Coast restaurant, I felt obliged to include their Boiled Crawfish on this list.
- Patio 44 – Patio 44 serves classic & new Creole-style dishes utilizing only the Delta and Gulf Coast regions’ finest ingredients. No dish sums up southern dining and the Gulf Coast better than their Blackened Chicken in a Cajun Cream Sauce. It’s spicy Cajun creamy goodness covering a bed of grilled fresh asparagus.
- Donanelle’s Bar & Grill – Donanelle’s has been slinging steaks for more than 30-years, which is almost a century in restaurant years. What makes this locally owned family business keep going year after year? I doubt it’s the ambiance. It’s literally a shack at the gates of Camp Shelby. However their steaks… Hmmm their steaks… So flavorful and juicy, that you’ll want to make it a family tradition for 30 more years.
Whistle Stops on the Hatties[burger] Trail
Visit Hattiesburg describes their Hatties[burger] Trail like this- “Residents officially claimed the nickname “Hattiesburgers,” and the HATTIES[BURGER] Trail is a play on this moniker.” With over 33 stops, we could have filled our entire dish list with NBB. NBB, how can I explain it. I’ll take you frame by frame it. It’s Nothing But Burgers, and you know if your down with NBB. However, that you could just click the Hatties[buger] Trail link for that. Instead, we’ll give you what we think is our best burger and then some of our favorite sides to complete the combo.
- Keg & Barrel – I know I said we weren’t going to include a hamburger at every place, but I keep hearing that Keg and Barrel is the ‘one burger you have to eat on the Hatties[burger Trail]’, so they’re making my list. The Eddie Delux seems to be calling my name. Like all their burgers, it starts with hand pattied beef using 100% Mississippi grass-fed beef. From there, it’s cook to order and topped with mushrooms, bacon, swiss cheese, and garlic mayo on a brioche bun.
- Ed’s Burger Joint – They say two Ed’s are better than one, but we already have our burger entry. The Joint lays its foundation of fresh, not fancy. Their buns are baked fresh daily, and their beef is never frozen. Ironically, I’m going with something that is frozen on their menu, a Chocolate-Banana Shake (Not ‘on the menu’, combine a combo of the chocolate and banana shakes). It’s not fancy, but it is just plain good, kind of like Ed’s Burger Joint.
- Coney Island Cafe – This is Hattiesburg’s oldest restaurant, dating back to 1923. My “nonburger” choice is pretty obvious – their classic Coney Island Hotdog. Perhaps what’s kept them in business for 98 years is their homemade chili that can top almost anything on the menu, including their iconic and namesake dog.
- The Porter Public House – This is Hattiesburg’s true public house offering house-made craft beer and classic American pub fare. We could lob a lager on our list or maybe pitch a pint, but we’re keeping this a food list. You might guess I like wordplay, and I think I’m witty, so I’ll go with Chicky-Chicky Wit Fries. You’ll get a huge plate of hand-cut fries topped with chopped grilled chicken, bacon, and a house-made Wit Sauce. Since wit is a Belgium white beer, I managed to circle back around to craft beer after all.
Best Pizza and Wings in Hattiesburg
Hattiesburg is a college town with not one, but three universities. Not only are young adults going to school here, but they’re also staying and making it their home. The ‘Burg has the highest per capita Millennial population in the South, even higher than Charlette or Atlanta. This pizza and wings dish list is dedicated to the younger Hattiesburgers looking for Places to Eat in Hattiesburg, MS.
- Mercury Pizza Company – According to Sunbelt Magazine, they’re not only the best pizza in Hattiesburg but all of the Pinebelt. Mercury uses a 900-degree Italian brick fire over and imported Italian flour to make crispy pizza in 90 seconds. With all this focus on tradition, I had to go with their classic Margherita Pizza with fresh mozzarella, parmesan cheese, olive oil drizzle, and a basil garnish.
- PYRO’S Fire Fresh Pizza – Pyro’s is a local Pinebelt pizza chain that puts out quality food for everyone, even if you’re gluten intolerant or vegan. Not only inclusive but delicious too. Our pie pick is the Memphis BBQ Fest, which pays homage to Pyro’s Memphis roots. It features champion pulled pork, bacon, roasted onions, banana peppers, barbecue sauce, mozzarella, and cheddar and topped with barbecue sauce drizzle and green onions.
- Fairley’s Wings & More – With 4.7 stars and over 200 reviews on Google, Fairley’s is the best-reviewed wing house in Hattiesburg, and for good reasons. They serve everything, wings and more, fresh, hot, and yummy. While we always love a good traditional hot wing, their Spicy Garlic Wings are something special.
- Winged it – Another local favorite that features wings that are the perfect balance between meaty goodness and sumptuous, crispy skin. They have 40 flavors to choose from, but we’re giving Honey Hot Wings the nod because they blend together sweet and spicy.
Best Breakfast Restaurants in Hattiesburg
There’s something special about starting a day with made-to-order breakfast and a hot cup of coffee. I can hardly imagine a Sunday-Funday that doesn’t start with brunch. These are our favorite dishes from what we think are the best breakfast restaurants in Hattiesburg.
- Depot Kitchen & Market – The Depot Kitchen brings together traditional southern ingredients with generous helpings of tender love and care to create meals that bring you back to the table. While everything is good, the Bru’s Breakfast Bowl will remind you of the southern breakfast of your dreams. It has a freshly baked cheddar biscuit that’s topped with sausage gravy, bacon, scrambled egg, and cheddar cheese. It’s as massive and yummy as it sounds.
- Fika Swedish Café – Fika sits next door to the Depot, making it hard to choose. I’d play head or tails with a Swedish Fish to find out. It’s kind of like pulling a wishbone, but with candy. The largest piece wins -bork bork bork. We’re going full Swedish with the Lingonberry Sandwich with Irish cream cheddar and lingonberry jam.
- Birdhouse Cafe – Tucked away in a quirky, west Hattiesburg store is Chef Katie Dixon’s Birdhouse Café. They serve healthy, nourishing food that is remarkably delicious. If you go, you have to try the Risi Piecey Smoothie Bowl. It’s an acai bowl with banana and almond milk that’s topped with hemp granola, strawberries, banana, peanut butter. It’s like eating candy for breakfast that’s actually good for you.
- The Midtowner – This midtown restaurant prides itself on serving everyday food in an extraordinary town. “Real breakfast. Real lunch. Real local.” as their menus say. We took that as a challenge and ordered the most Hattiesburg dish we could think of – Sweet Potato Pancakes. It was so big that we couldn’t finish it between the two of us and so good that we really wanted to.
- South Mouth Deli – Any place that reminds me of Jimmy Hart and Saturday mornings watching WWF can’t be bad. Their breakfasts brought me in, but my 80s flashbacks had me ordering the Walk This Way. It’s a grilled chicken sandwich loaded with cheese, sautéed onion, bell peppers, and sriracha aioli. You ain’t seen nothing till you’re down on this muffin.
- T-Bones Records and Café – Did you know that Hattiesburg is the birthplace of Rock and Roll? If not, the mural outside will tell you so. In 1936, the Mississippi Jook Band record what Rolling Stone describes as “fully formed rock and roll guitar riffs and a stomping rock and roll beat.” You know, if you’re in a record store café, there better be a musical theme to your dish. We’re rolling with their Original Breakfast Sandwich. While the sandwich isn’t entirely regional, it’s the perfect quick bite, especially during the Sunday Jazz Brunch. It’s just plain good and just a little retro, kind of like T-Bones.
Fine Dining in Hattiesburg Restaurants
Some people claim there are no Hattiesburg restaurants that qualify as fine dining. They’ve obviously never had a savory, melt-in-your-mouth fillet at Sully’s or tasted Chef Robert St John’s culinary creations. Here are our fine dining dishes that should put that myth down for good.
- Sully’s Hattiesburg – You just heard about Hattiesburg being the birthplace of Rock and Roll. It was also the death of bare-knuckle boxing. The last sanctioned fight took place in the woods outside of town on July 8, 1889. Champion John L. Sullivan and challenger Jake Kilrain fought for over two hours and 18 minutes in a fight that lasted 75 rounds. In the end, Sullivan won, but the brutality of the fight convinced the world to move on from the sport. Today, that legacy is remembered at Sully’s Steakhouse, which is located near that infamous patch of trees where the last fight went down. With a backstory like that, you know we’re looking for prime beef, and their USDA Prime Filet lived up to the hype. They are aged for at least 21 days, flavored to perfection, hand-cut, lean, and succulent. This isn’t the kind of beef that a movie boxer would use for target practice. It’s a cut above that would make Sully proud.
- Crescent City Grill – It’s hard to talk about dining in Hattiesburg without mentioning Robert St John. He’s undoubtedly the town’s most famous restaurateur and chef. He’s also a prolific writer with a weekly column in the Daily Journal for twenty years and published eleven books. We came to the CCG for New Orleans Inspired Southern Cuisine, which we found cooked to perfection with Cajun Enchiladas. Nothing says Southern like fresh Gulf shrimp, and nothing says Cajun like a spicy Creole cheese sauce and dirty rice. Bake them all together in an enchilada, and now you’re speaking my language.
- The Mahogany Bar – Their menu says they offer beer, whiskey, and beer. In fact, they have 145 beers in-house, including all nine Mississippi breweries on tap, which is enough to get you seeing double for sure. On the subject of seeing double, the Mahogany Bar shares the food menu with Crescent City Grill, so we get to pick again. This time, we’re going with the Crawfish Pie. It’s Louisiana Crawfish tails with the Cajon vegetables and cheese baked up in a light puff pastry with lemon butter.
Italian and Mexican Food in Hattiesburg
On the subject of bare-knuckle fighters and celebrity chefs, this the title fight between the reigning champion, Hattiesburg’s most famous chef, Robert St John, and the rag-tag local favorites challengers. Who will win? Anybody who eats any of this delicious food in Hattiesburg.
- Tabella – Even from 100 miles away, we had people recommending Tabella to us when they found out we were going to Hattiesburg. Chef RSJ meant it when he said Tabella has authenticity you can taste. Their Chicken Puglia will not disappoint with thin breaded chicken breast served over prosciutto, sweet peas, and orecchiette pasta tossed in a parmesan cream sauce.
- Mario’s Italian Restaurant & Bar – They promise a contemporary Italian menu inspired by the traditions of Sicily. Our Hattiesburg insiders promised the best pasta you’ve ever tasted. They both could be right. When you’re thinking about Italian artistic masterpieces, Michelangelo comes to mind. The same is true for Mario’s Tortellini Michelangelo. It’s cheese-filled pasta with scallions and mushrooms smothered in alfredo sauce. Cue the hand of God reaching down to Adam and fade to black.
- El Rayo – RSJ’s newest restaurant offers outstanding Tex-Mex at the location of his very first restaurant, the Purple Parrot. The restaurant is completely remodeled and captures that Tex-Mex feeling inside and out, including the menu. We could have easily gone with their tender flank steak fajitas and called it good, but we have to pay tribute to the #10 Can Nachos. It’s nachos with two quesos, chipotle salsa, picadillo, pickled onions, pickled jalapeños that gets presented tableside in a #10 can. You can almost hear the mariachis as the chips and cheese come tumbling out. Qué Bueno.
- Compadres Taqueria and Grill – Lacking all El Rayo’s flamboyance, Compadres focuses on the food, and they deliver. You’ll feel closer to New Mexico, with green and red chilis appearing everywhere on the menu. However, if you get a chance, you have to try their Alambre al Pastor. It’s marinated pork strips grilled with onions, bell peppers, pineapple, and bacon. The pineapple gives it that sweet and spicy depth of flavor that will have you coming back for more.
Sweet dreams are made of this… Who am I to disagree? I’ve traveled the world and the seven seas. Everybody’s lookin’ for something (sweet to eat). Cheesy, maybe, but who’s going to say no to dessert?
- Cotton Blues – “What began as a cheesecake recipe created by a high schooler in small-town Mississippi is now a business that makes thousands of cheesecakes each month.” This sounds like the next generation of Stricklands to me, only with cheesecake and not BBQ. Their cheesecake ships across the US, but why order out when you can have home cooking? When you come to Cotton Blues, you know you’re getting cheesecake, but let us suggest starting with the Original Cheesecake so you can taste the made from scratch goodness that never has fillers. In fact, it only has seven ingredients!
- Nannie Mac’s Snowballs – Another masterpiece of simplicity is the snowball. Plus, their location next to the Longleaf Trace is pure marketing genius. They have more flavors than you can shake a skate at, but I’d break for their Peaches and Cream any day.
- Shipley Do-Nuts – As Yoda says, there is no try. Only Do or Do-Nuts. And our little green friend would go nuts for Shipley Do-Nuts. This is the pasty of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a cream-filled blaster. An elegant edible for a more civilized age. Towards that end, let us suggest their Plain Glazed. These are the do-nuts you’ve been looking for.
- Midtown Donut – If you’re looking for a fully armed and operational donut, their over-the-top flavors will get your morning started like an Imperial Star Destroyer dropping out of hyperspace. The Maple Bacon Glazed hits the spot when maple or bacon or glaze alone just wouldn’t cut it. Because sometimes more really is more.
- Jody’s Bakery & Caterie – Have we made it to 30 dishes already? We couldn’t think of a better clean-up batter than a bakery known for their cake batter since they opened in 1983. Already in this section, I had two Star Wars entries and recommended glazed donuts, which my wife Jenn…. let me put it this way – She’d rather have Brussel sprouts! I’m the glazed fan in the family. What she goes crazy for is Iced Sugar Cookies, and Jody’s Bakery might have the best in town, so take that, you little cabbages.
Wrapping Up Our 30 Dishes in Hattiesburg
Did you have fun reading our suggestions? Did we get it right? Are there any wrong answers? We loved the foodie scene in the Hub City and can’t wait to eat more. However, feel free to chime in on the comments below with your opinions and suggestions. We’d love to hear from you.
As always, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own, and we only recommend brands and destinations that we 100% stand behind.
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