2nd Annual Bud & Burgers

This year’s 2nd Annual Bud & Burgers, made possible by Mitchell Distributing and the Tupelo Downtown Main Street Association, had beautiful weather and a great turnout!  


The Bud & Burgers is like a cool neighborhood block party with award winning burgers, cold brew and great entertainment. The event was fun for all ages, with families and friends out enjoying the atmosphere and sharing good times.  


After paying a $10 admission at the gate, folks got to sample burgers from all the competing teams and vote for their favorite! There was also plenty of live local entertainment, with this year’s headliner, Railroad Radio! 


As most of y’all know from reading my blog “Eating Out With Jeff Jones” on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, I’ve eaten a lot of burgers. So when I was ask to be on the judging panel this year, I thought, heck yeah!  


After sampling every burger, I had eaten the equivalent of 4 full size burgers. Kids, don’t try this at home. I’m a professional burger eater! LOL!


Getting to help the event from behind the scenes was a great honor. It gave me a fresh perspective on all the hard work and dedication that goes into making the event another success for the All American City!  


Winners of this year’s event:

1st Place: Tupelo Sports Council

2nd Place: Stewart Environmental Construction

3rd Place: Team Gator 18

Best in Show: Bleu Bayou

People’s Choice: Bleu Bayou


Two of our winning teams, Bleu Bayou and Tupelo Sports Council!


With Tupelo’s entertainment and fun factor growing by leaps and bounds, there is always something fresh to enjoy. Check out my blog for events, contests, new restaurants, LOCAL Favorites, and their FAMOUS foods!   

2017 Tupelo Comic Con

AWESOMENESS! If I had to describe Tupelo’s 2nd Annual Comic Con in one word, that would be it. But for the sake of this article I’ll elaborate just a bit.

Tupelo Comic Con is a celebration of the imagination in all of us. When growing up, we all believe anything is possible, and seek out media and movies that promote that child like wonder. Somewhere between adolescents and adulthood some may loose their interest in the magical and impossible, while others embrace it.  

Being my first Comic Con, I’m getting the lay of the land and checking out everything!  

There were fans and curiosity seekers of all ages looking for relics and reminders of favorite Comic books characters, TV show personalities, video and board games.  

The crew from Tupelo’s own PARADOX Games and Escape Rooms were on location to show how to have fun, intrigue, and mystery, while taking teambuilding skills to the next level! 

On a larger scale, you will find replicas of iconic vehicles on display to check out. Always a fan favorite, the DeLorean from Back to the Future and a couple vehicles from Jurassic Park used to dodge prehistoric dinosaurs brought back to life for our viewing pleasure.


 

Also, The Mystery Machine used to transport Scooby Doo, Shaggy, and the crew from one menacing mystery to the next, was on display, and for a voluntary donation, you could get your photo taken with all proceeds going to the Lee Humane Society.  

There were TV celebrities on hand to talk to, graphic artist with tons of merchandise for sale, vendors selling anything and everything related to fantasy and science fiction, plus plenty of Comic Con goers dressed in their favorite character attire with their own personal twist. 


 

While at the Tupelo Comic Con, I got to talk about “eating out” with the star of Lost and Babylon 5, Mira Furlan!!! Sci-fi and recommending which local restaurants she should try…I was sooo Geeking out!!! 

I also got to talk to a local celebrity I’ve known since childhood, Superstar Bill Dundee. Folks, watching Bill Dundee and the rest of the Memphis Wrestling crew over 30 years ago was a Saturday morning ritual of mine, plus the occasional live performances in Tupelo was like getting to play an extra in your favorite TV show. That was living it large back in the day for me.  

There is something for everyone at the Tupelo Comic Con. While walking around, soaking it all in, I saw families with young children enjoying all the Con had to offer. 

Some Con goers were brandishing their favorite battle gear, and others dressed as their favorite fantasy character with their own playful twist.  

While there, I got to try my hand at a Marvel Legend.  Only the most worthy may wield Thor’s hammer…I’M NOT WORTHY!!!

The bottom line is this, at the Tupelo Comic Con you can be yourself or somebody else. You are surrounded by likeminded folks who are just there to have fun and be themselves, whoever that may be at that moment in time. Come dressed in your most casual street attire, a simple off the shelf costume, or stretch the limits of your imagination and make it so!  
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2017 Tupelo BBQ DUEL

The 2017 Tupelo BBQ DUEL at Fairpark, March 17th through 19th in Downtown Tupelo. 

There were food venders, activities for the kids, and a free concert packed with two days of local entertainment! 

The Link Centre had BBQ plates provided by Bar-B-Q By Jim. The meat was shredded perfectly, and tasted like the giant hunks of heaven we’ve all enjoyed for years from this local favorite!  

There was also a variety of festival foods available from specialty sandwiches to pork rinds and lemonade, plus adult beverages for the older crowd.  

Most folks that attend the festival are there for the food, fun, and fellowship with friends and neighbors. What most don’t see is the small city of BBQ DUEL competitors camped out just behind the courthouse. They are all there to compete for up to $25,000 in prize money and bragging rights for being voted best in their division.  

Although everyone is there hoping to out cook their competition, a stroll about the campgrounds gave me a sense of community. Their were folks gathering to share a meal, music in the air, and kids playing games to pass the time.  

A few of the many BBQ DUEL volunteers
An army of civic minded volunteers are also vital to making this event one of the top BBQ festivals in the nation. A sea of local folks in matching shirts and staff badges come together every year to make the Tupelo BBQ DUEL one of the All American City’s premier events.  

When you plan to attend, bring your lawn chairs and a big appetite for one of Tupelo’s biggest party’s of the year! 

Check out my blog for events, contests, new restaurants, LOCAL Favorites, and their FAMOUS foods!   

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Fairpark Grill – Bourbon Street Nachos

Fairpark Grill @ 343 East Main Street, Tupelo, MS. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.  

The Grill has a great location in Downtown Tupelo between Fairpark and the BankcorpSouth arena. They offer everything from Classic American cuisine, bar food, seafood, steaks, and much more! 

 The Grill is great to just hang out at the bar and unwind or reserve a table for a special occasion with family and friends.  


To start, I went with one of their made in Mississippi craft beer selections. Thanks to some helpful suggestions, I went with a Lucky Town Pub Ale brewed in Jackson.  


For my meal, I decided on their Bourbon Street Nachos. It’s listed in their starter section, but one person can make a meal of it. It’s chips loaded down with shrimp, crawfish, andouille sausage, sautéed red bell peppers, onions, and chives. And with a side of salsa and house made quest dip, let the party begin!  


For a loaded Nachos like this, their is no wrong way to eat it. I do have a system though. I start out loading each chip carefully to fully soak in the beauty of the dish. Once full appreciation has been attained, I get more aggressive and dig in! This starts with me soaking the entire plate with the cheese and salsa. After that, I begin crushing the chips and blending the entire mixture till I can fork each remaining savory bite.  


Do I care what people may think while I am crushing my meal like rocks in a quarry? NAH…sometimes you just gotta eat like nobody’s watching! This is true for a lot of tasty foods. It’s pretty to look at and delicious to eat, but you can’t be timid when it comes time to do what needs to be done. 


If your not in the mood for nachos but like all the toppings, you should try their NOLA Pasta. Same Cajun flare but with Cavatappi Pasta and Cajun jumbo cream sauce. For this visit it was a toss up between the two, but you gotta start somewhere!  


The food was great and service was excellent… see y’all at Fairpark Grill!  

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Double Barrel Restaurant & Catering Co. – Catfish Plate lunch 

Double Barrel Restaurant & Catering Co. @ 825 North Gloster, Tupelo, MS (Formerly JR.’S Lounge). Open Monday through Friday from 10:30 till 2:30pm.

NOW OPEN! I’ve been anticipating this opening for some time now and it was well worth the wait! The folks from the Double Barrel Steakhouse in Shannon decided to relocate to Gloster street in Tupelo and reopen with a new mission. To serve their famous country food for lunch every weekday to the residents of Tupelo and surrounding area.  


Now, this isn’t the owner’s first rodeo! When they opened up their new location, they came out of the gate with both barrels blazing! This was only their 2nd day open and everything during my visit was flawless.  


They offer plate lunches with several choices of meat, veggies, bread and drink. I chose the 1 meat, 3 veggie, bread and drink special for $7.99. To make it even sweeter, I also purchased one of their homemade fried pies for an extra $1.99.  

When you walk in, hop in line, tell the nice folks your lunch picks, then pay at the register. You can get some self serve drinks on the way to your table and BAM…your good to go!  


My lunch choices were the fried catfish fillets, coleslaw, potato salad, boiled cabbage with smoked sausage, and hush puppies. 


 For my fried pie, they offered Apple or peach, although it was a tough choice, I went with apple.   


It was all very good. The fish were crispy on the outside with tender white meat. The coleslaw had a nice balanced flavor and looked great. The potato salad was kind of a loaded baked potato version. It had tender slices and loaded with creamy goodness. I also loved that they make their cabbage with sausage. I must admit that I don’t eat as many veggies as I should, but when I do, adding sausage is definitely a plus!


This was a fast paced experience with a verity of tasty home cooking to choose from, friendly staff, and very attentive.  


They have balanced the atmosphere quite nicely also. This is a huge building. They have spaced the eating areas so that it feels like you have your own little cozy corner to dine and admire all the memorabilia on display.  


Visit their page to keep up with their daily menu choices and special event at: 

https://www.facebook.com/Double-Barrel-Restaurant-Catering-Co-1132391300130121/

I often hear folks say that they like to wait a couple weeks to let new restaurants work the kinks out. Let me just say that the Double Barrel Restaurant & Catering Co. is good to go and ready to serve! See y’all there!  

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McAlaster’s Deli – SPUD MAX

McAlaster’s Deli @ 495 South Gloster, Tupelo. SPUD MAX! $7.49 Open Sunday – Thursday 10:30am till 9:30pm, Friday – Saturday 10:30am till 10:00pm.

On one of the recent cold weather days I took a moment to ponder what would hit the spot for lunch. Although several of my favorite foods came to mind, a blast from the past rose to the top, Spud Max from McAlaster’s Deli! I hadn’t had one in a while so it was about time!  


They offer five signature spuds from their Giant Spuds collection and also a “craft your own” section for even more choices.  


When you first walk in, you place your order, take a number, and find a table till your order arrives. They have take out menus available as you walk in the door and posted above the counter. I already knew what I wanted going in so it was a fast passed experience.  


My Spud Max was huge and loaded with ham, turkey, bacon, cheddar-jack, green onion, and sour cream. I rarely eat just a potato for a meal but this isn’t JUST a potato! It warmed me up and filled a need I had as well. For my next spud, I’m gonna craft my own using Chili and cheddar for a new foodie adventure! 


McAlaster’s location in Tupelo has been around for decades and offer a verity of Deli foods ranging from nachos, sandwiches, soups, salads, spuds, and more. Wether you’re looking to order take out, catering, or a pleasant sit down meal, visit McAlaster’s Deli for some good food served by some helpful friendly folks.  


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Gonzo’s Grill – Philly Steak sandwich 

Gonzo’s Grill @ 106 West Bankhead Street, New Albany, MS. Open Wednesday & Thursday 11:00M – 8:00pm, Friday & Saturday 11:00 – 9:00 pm.

In this review: Philly Steak sandwich, beer battered onion rings, cheese sticks, and banana pudding…plus, a look at their two pound Gonzo Burger!

Gonzo’s Grill, owned by Mike and Wanda Gonzales, is located in the heart of Downtown New Albany surrounded by several locally run shops and other fine eateries.  

When you walk in, you get a down home, casual vibe. They have a simple printed menu that offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, plate dinners, appetizers, and sides. 

 For a more upscale dining experience, they have a chalkboard hanging over the counter with an extensive list of steaks and chops of all shapes and sizes. Believe it or not, this was the short version of what Gonzo’s Grill has to offer!  

Although their menu may look simple, everything I’ve ever ordered has had the ultimate WOW factor! Whenever I see anything prepared by Mike, my first thought is WOW! He knows that when folks like me eat out, they don’t just want something to eat, they want an over the top experience.  

When I first met Mike and Wanda, they were operating out an old abandoned gas station. People would travel for miles just to get a Gonzo Burger or a steak on the weekends. I thought for my first experience I’d just have a double burger with fries. What I got was a full two pound burger loaded with cheese and it took both hands just to lift the monster! WOW!!!!  

Since that first encounter, they have since outgrown the gas station where they began and have opened two new restaurants including Gonzo’s Grill.  

To commemorate my first visit to their new restaurant, I wanted to try something different. I had the Philly Steak sandwich with onion rings, cheese sticks for an appetizer, and homemade banana pudding.  

The fried cheese tasted great and was a good start, but pace yourself. You could easily fill up on the portion size they give you, but you want to save room for what’s to come.  

When I first saw the Philly I thought WOW! It was loaded with tender steak, thin sliced grilled onions, peppers, and covered in a blanket of cheese. This was a juicy, cheesy, flavor filled mess…and I loved it! ​

​ 

You can go old school and eat it with both hands or use a knife and fork. They have a roll of paper towels on each table so do what makes you happy!  

The onion rings are beer battered, have a slight crunch, and hold together well. The rings complimented the Philly quite nicely.  

They didn’t have any dessert listed on the menu so be sure to ask what’s available. For this trip, they had some very good homemade banana pudding. It had a firm consistency with a thick layer of rich meringue. Soooo good!  

For the diehard steak connoisseur, at Gonzo’s you even get to pick your favorite cut of meat from the counter before it even touches the grill! I decided to check out the various cuts of meat available and was already planning my next meal! 

Although I didn’t have steak this time, it’s definitely on my list for the next visit.

Even if you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting either of their restaurants, you’ve probably already seen them on tv. Their quality service and reputation of the monster sized Gonzo Burgers landed them a guest spot on a local car dealership commercial!  

There is saying that when the best restaurant in town is attached to a gas station, you probably live in the south. I’ve visited many such places while writing my blog, but owners Mike and Wanda Gonzales have transformed their love of good food from humble beginnings into a true American success story!  

For more information with hours, specials, and locations, check out their pages and start planning your next foodie adventure!

Gonzo’s Grill in New Albany:

https://www.facebook.com/gonzoburgers1/

Gonzo’s fish & steakhouse llc in West Union:
https://www.facebook.com/gonzoburger/

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Taylor’s Fish and Steak House – Seafood Buffet 

Taylor’s Fish and Steak House @ 538 North Glenfield Road, New Albany, MS. Friday night Seafood Buffet $18.99. Open for country lunch buffet Tuesday- Friday 11:00M – 1:30pm, Thursday night country buffet 4:30pm – 8:30pm, Friday & Saturday night Seafood Buffet 4:30pm – 9:00pm. Plus, be sure to check out their Sunday lunch buffet!Taylor’s is one of those places that have been around for years and is synonymous with great food. If you’ve never been, you’ll probably need your GPS to get you there. It’s just minutes away from the heart of New Albany and near an industrial area.  Other than the sign near the road, the building is unassuming, until you see the full parking lot, then you’ll definitely know you’ve reached your destination.When entering the restaurant you’ll first notice all the local awards that cover the entire wall and signs showing they serve Mississippi raised catfish and Certified Angus beef. The friendly staff will help you find a table and menus, plus bring you a basket of regular or hot hushpuppies for good measure.  Although they have a full menu of tasty food to choose from, most folks are there for steak, catfish, or like me, the seafood buffet. You have about three different lines for the buffet, salad, seafood, and another for homemade desserts.   The salad bar was expansive and fully packed with fresh veggies. You could make a meal just on the salad like my daughter did.  The seafood bar is massive. They have a wide variety of veggies including fried green beans, jalapeño poppers, and my favorite fried green tomatoes.  For the meat and shellfish, they have some mighty good whole and fillet catfish, shrimp served several ways, fried oysters, stuffed crabs, crawfish, and even steak! They have most everything other buffets have and then some!  The deserts are awesome! We had banana pudding, chocolate cobbler, and peach cobbler. I loved all three, but I’m partial to all things chocolate so their cobbler was just up my alley. Mix in the melted chocolate with the thick crust to soak it all up and I can call it a night.   Folks, if you’ve never had Taylor’s Place seafood buffet, you should. Once you do, you’ll be hooked! See y’all there!  


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Blue Canoe – Soft shell crab sandwich 

Blue Canoe @ 2006 N. Gloster St., Tupelo, MS. Soft shell crab sandwich with fries. $14.00 plus tax.  The Blue Canoe’s Nashville Style Soft Shell Crab sandwich with home cut fries…AWESOMENESS on a plate!!! Request their house remoulade sauce for the perfect compliment to any sandwich or side item. Tender from first bite to last, this meal is a must try!  I call this my first official tasting of fried soft shell crab. I love shell fish and all types of crustaceans especially deep fried. I actually had my first experience at eating “soft” shell crab from a street vender at a local festival a while back. Let’s just say, I couldn’t believe this was all the rage. When I saw it offered from the Blue Canoe I made plans to try it again for the first time. It was EPIC!  

After my first encounter with this soft skinned sea creature I was determined to learn more. Like the old song “Haunted House” by John Fogerty, excepted adapted to my situation…Say yes, I’ll be here when the morning comes, I’ll be right here and I ain’t gonna run. I bought this burger, now you know I’m boss. Ain’t no crab gonna run me off!  After proper preparation, it’s basically cooked shell, claws, and all. When harvested in season and at just the right time, the shells are so thin and soft it’s considered part of the meat. When you start to dig in, their is no wrong way to proceed. Some folks like to eat the crab straight off the bun, or dress it up like a burger and dig in!  This wasn’t my first visit to the Blue Canoe, but out of the many trips I’ve made, I’ve always ordered something different. Everything I’ve ever experienced from the BC has had that WOW factor, from their crack fries to the specialty burgers. If you have an adventurous palette, pick something on the menu you’ve never heard of and go for it!  Check out their page for specials, entertainment, and more. They’ve always got something fresh going on at the Blue Canoe! https://www.facebook.com/BlueCanoeTupelo/

Just look for the Funky Little shack on the hill, shaken’ all night with great music & good vibes! 😎✌️

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A Little Taste of Chicago Food Truck – Chicago dog & fries

A Little Taste of Chicago Food Truck @ Fairpark in Tupelo, MS (check their page for updated locations). Chicago dog, fries and drink. Only $7.00 including tax! We’ve got a growing list of fine food trucks in our community and recently added one more. These folks saw something they thought our town needed, built it, and hit the road! I really admire that.  A little Taste Of Chicago has taken the traditional corner hotdog stand, beefed it up, then knocked it out of the ball park!!! They have a varied menu to choose from with sides that include fries and onion rings. I’d already heard from friends that their Chicago dog was just as they had enjoyed when visiting the Windy City. So the Chicago dog seemed to me the perfect place to start!   For only $7 I got the Chicago dog, fries, and a drink which includes tax. The Chicago dog is made to its original specs. They start with a poppy seed bun, then add the hotdog covered in yellow mustard, white onion, relish, peppers, sliced tomato, and a dill pickle spear.  This was my first Chicago style hot dog, and it was amazing! All the flavors blended perfectly with just a little spicy kick thanks to the peppers and onion.  I also have to give a brief shout out to the fries as well. Folks, I don’t eat fries to get my allotment of veggies for the day. I eat them for pure pleasure. And how I like my fries is a little crispy around the edges with just the right amount of salt already added. With the first bite, I realized…A Little Taste Of Chicago gets where I’m coming from.  To learn more about their menu and locations, check out their page @ https://www.facebook.com/alittletasteofchicago/

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