We at Gildshire Food and Nutrition Magazine love every region of this great land. The friendly folks, unique experiences, and awe-inspiring sights and sounds make us take to the road again and again. That said, we must come clean about something. When we decided to write The Top Five Dining Gems and separate them regionally, there was one region we were looking forward to the most. The folks in the deep south know how to eat, baby! Today, we take our ample appetite to Dixie, where the kitchen always smells like Mama and peach cobbler.
Hammontree’s Grilled Cheese, located at 326 N. West Ave, Suite 8, Fayetteville, Arkansas. What comes to mind when we say comfort food? For some it’s meatloaf. Some will chime in with “chicken noodle soup.” Others’ eyes will glaze over as they remember a hometown or family favorite. For many folks, though, grilled cheese is the comfort food of choice. Gildshire vividly remembers bubbly grilled cheese coming out from under the broiler on a Sunday night. Serve that with tomato soup and we’re eatin’ now! What better way to start our tour of the southeast than with a place that loves grilled cheese so much they put it in the name? Order the Ragin’ Cajun if you like a little kick. Try the Monte Cristo and see what these folks can do with Havarti. Open 11 a.m-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Open a half hour later Friday and Saturday. Closed Sundays.
The Pig and Pint, located at 3139 N. State St, Jackson, Mississippi. People like to say what they are “in the mood for” when talking about food. We have yet to find anyone not “in the mood for” this Jackson favorite. At The Pig and Pint, quality food isn’t just something to eat, but rather a way of life and the atmosphere here is almost half the fun. Here, in the heart of the Fondren Arts and Entertainment District, Pig & Pint offers a unique twist on barbecue. That alone makes it worthy of The Top Five dining establishments. Our favorites include the barbecued nachos, (All three options are great, but pulled pork is our choice.), as well as the Boudin Burger, and the (wait for it) Pepsi-Cola Glazed Ribs! Open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Sundays.
Cochon Butcher, located at 930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, Louisiana. You didn’t think we would write about food down south and leave out The Big Easy, did you? Hush, we wouldn’t dream of it. Cochon Butcher is one of those famous places that the locals patronize, as well. That’s always a good sign. This is simple food, but with a side of awesome. We like the Cubano and the BLT for lunch, and the Fried Boudin and Pickled Peppers for dinner. The NOLA Arts/Warehouse District is a better place for the addition of Cochon Butcher. We like the ample hours, too. Open 10 a.m-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours are 10 a.m-4 p.m.
The Po Boy Factory, located at 815 Andrew Jackson Way, Huntsville, Alabama. We at Gildshire Magazines adopted a rule when we travel and recommend this same rule for you. When on vacation, we don’t go to restaurants that we can go to at home. That way we always experience local flavor and favorites. The Po Boy Factory is an example of the success we have experienced through that rule. Oh, the food is great, and we’ll get to that, but it was the atmosphere and the wait staff that made this joint memorable. They engage the diners as if we’re all new and best friends. It’s not intrusive but done with grace and friendly charm. Dinner at our table was a great Mahi Mahi Po Boy Sandwich, Fried Shrimp, and Gator. Open Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m-8:30 p.m. They’re open an hour later Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Aviva by Kameel, located at 225 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, Georgia. What comes to mind when I say “mall food?” Probably, not much. A buffet or, perhaps, a food court with a Baskin-Robbins that doesn’t recognize 31-cent cone day on the 31st of the month? Whatever your experience with mall food, it likely doesn’t include one of the best dining options in the southeast. Allow us to introduce Aviva by Kameel inside Peachtree MARTA Station Mall. You’ll forget you’re in a mall. Heck, you’ll forget malls exist. This five-star meal comes at a three-star price! Some of our favorites include Rosemary Chicken, Chicken Shawarma, and Falafel. Make plans for this one, because the hours are the most limited ones on our list. Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m, Monday-Friday, but closed weekends.
That’s our list, but it is by no means exhaustive of the places to eat in the southeast. We wanted to give honorable mention to Columbia Restaurants in Florida, but seven locations make it a chain, and chains aren’t our thing. Enjoy the food and the great customer service at all of these fine establishments, because they are, for our money, the Top Five dining establishments to be found down south. We think they will be the Top Five dining stops on your journeys as well, but let us know what you think.