Old Venice Pizza Co. in Tupelo, Mississippi, has turned into one of our go-to places for a good and quick lunch. Dear Husband will say, “I’m thinking pizza,” and we’ll head on out to hit the pizza/hot food/salad bar buffet, washed down with draft Blue Moon — and grab a nice melty soft cookie on the way out. (Thank you to whoever puts the cookies on a tiered server up high, under the buffet’s warming lights. Genius!) Thumbs-up all the way around. But you know a restaurant’s ladies’ room is just as important as the menu and the service — to me, anyway. And Old Venice in Tupelo passes inspection. I especially like the way the graceful branches of the dried flower arrangement echoed the intricate swirls of the wall decor. Probably whoever figured out the warm-cookie thing took care of this detail, too. And usually I manage to keep myself out of the shot but I wanted you to see my favorite purse. Younger Daughter gave it to me for Mother’s Day a couple of years ago, and I carry it practically every day from April through August. I love this purse! I can cram everything I need in it and it never gets full. It’s comfortable, and I get compliments on it all the time. In fact, one time in Mufreesboro, Tennessee, I left my husband to do some business while I wandered around the square, shopping and browsing trying to support the local economy. When he tried to follow me several minutes later, he correctly identified a store that seemed to be one I’d be interested in — who could resist those adorable sundresses in the window? — and went in inquiring about his wife. “Oh, she was the one with the cute green purse, right?” said the sales clerk. Right! Clean pretty bathrooms and cute green purses — what else does a woman need? Oh, yes — good pizza. Go to http://www.oldvenice.com/ to learn more.
My son and I will be traveling to Memphis from San Diego next month for some BBQ and I wanted to drive into MS. I’m looking for an out of the way restaurant that serves food representative of that area. I have this visions of a little down home place out in the country where we could experience a meal and southern hospitality we couldn’t get in San Diego. Any ideas? I’ll drive down to the Tupelo area if there is anything around there.
Gene — Whoo-hoo! You have hit the jackpot if you’re looking for good Southern-style food. Of course, Memphis is going to have that all over the place. But if you want some Southern cooking Mississippi-style, I’m going to collect a few recommendations for you and let you know. Your trip sounds like a great idea. Good for you!
Gene — Here you go — recommendations from the food editor of the Tupelo newspaper:
As far as Memphis BBQ, I’d say the Rendezvous for ribs and ambiance or Corky’s for more family-oriented stuff (I prefer Corky’s BBQ to anyone’s, personally).
As far as the Southern restaurant, most of the meat-and-three restaurants I know are NOT out in the country. They’re usually located in downtown areas.
In Tupelo, it would be Romie’s for taste and ambiance or Whiteside’s (on Green two blocks from the Journal) for food only (inside is nothing special) or BBQ by Jim, which has an excellent plate lunch in addition to barbecue.
In downtown Corinth, it would be Martha’s Menu.
In Pontotoc, A Taste of Country.
In New Albany, Nita’s Eatery.
There used to be a place in Holly Springs called Annie’s Restaurant that is probably the best example of any of these, and it’s close to Memphis. Not sure if it’s still open, though.