This is a continuation of my food fare posts. I’ve already discussed New Orleans and Baltimore and Wilmington, go back and take a look if you like. In this post, I’ll be discussing Laurel, Mississippi.
Laurel is not a very large city thirty minutes north of me on HWY 59. My parents grew up here. My grandmother lived here until here death in the mid 2000s. It’s a place I knew pretty well, for a long time. Eateries have come and gone in this little place. It’s mostly filled with chain restaurants and fast food. However, there are two long-time favourites that are still around and two relatively newer places that are worth a mention if you should find yourself passing through Laurel.
It’s not fancy and it’s at the edge of a strip mall, on the other end from the Piggly Wiggly, both of which have been here in this same spot since they first opened in the mid-late 1960’s. Pasquale’s (pass kwall ees) was the first of its kind. The first of any type of pizza or Italian-esque eatery Laurel had ever encountered. We always went, because well, mom and dad were regular visitors in their late teens.
Pasquale’s is not the place to go for a mean pizza or the best pasta you’ve ever had in your life. The reason you go is for the bread. Whether it’s simply a side order of bread, a sandwich or a calzone. Their bread is AMAZING! It also doesn’t hurt that the interior still holds it’s 1960s American-Italian eatery design with red and black quaintness in the form of wrought iron metal booths. Or that the bathrooms are completely tiled in various shape tiles and still retain their original hardware. It’s all seen better days, but it’s still rather comforting that it hasn’t changed. Oh the boys bathroom is entirely pastel blue while the girls is all in pastel pink. It’s adorable.
Anyways, this families favourites have always been, and I can not repeat this enough, the bread. Just an order of bread. Then there’s the roast beef sandwich, on that delectable bread with a side of gravy. Also the meatball calzone. Tip for the calzone, if you don’t want to just be shoveling pizza sauce into your mouth, get extra meat and cheese.
Before it was Phillip’s Drive In, or as anyone who goes there simply calls it; PDI, it was a Dairy Queen. That was back in the 1940s and 1950s. But it has been PDI for all these years and people love it. It’s a dive, yes. But if you’re looking for a burger and shake, then this is where you want to be. Also, don’t do the drive-thru. Pull in, park, place your order at the counter and just wait. That’s really what these places are all about.
I’m sure just about anything is good, but this is a burger and shake stand, so stick with the burgers. Regular is one patty, Jumbo is double meat. Definitely order a side of either fries, tater tots, onion rings, or might I also suggest the fried okra. I would also suggest a cherry coke, the real one where they hand pour the cherry syrup into it, but really any iced drink because they have flake ice and it’s wonderful. But, if ice is not your thing, do not skip out on a shake or a malt. It’s the perfect complement to the food your are about the devour and enjoy.
Just because I’d like to add it, this is my dad’s most favourite place to eat in the entire world. Now you know.
Café La Fleur
Really if you want New Orleans, it’s just better to actually get it in New Orleans. There are so many New Orleans Style eateries around now that it’s gotten ridiculous. Or restaurants adding a little Cajun flare to the menu with Cheesy-Shrimpy-Grits or Cajun spiced this. Sigh. Anyways, this place is actually pretty good. It is not a bad meal, nor a bad price. The location is sweet and the interior is pleasant.
Haha and I go and supply a photo of Cheesy-Shrimpy-Grits for you. It’s not the best restaurant I have ever eaten at, but they seem to do the modern, up-scale, Cajunfy everything thing quite well. Better than the one’s in my town. And it’s a nice spot if you’re in Laurel.
This is on the list for two reasons. What if you love coffee and you find yourself in Laurel and your only options seem to be Sonic or McDonald’s when you really want great coffee and not whatever that other stuff is. Here ya go. Their coffee is really good. It’s also really cute. It’s also right on the main thoroughfare through town, you can not miss it.
Also, my family and I used to own a coffee shop in the basement of our house. My sister and I went to Jitters because we were in Laurel a few years ago and wanted coffee. Somehow talking became more talking and Jitters was inspired by us. As younger kids they’d all pile in the car to head for the metropolis (ha ha) of Hattiesburg and eventually found The Cubbyhole. They ended up wanting to sort of re-create it. I can dig it. This, of course, is the second reason it ends up on this list. It’s laid back, it’s quirky, there are board games and books at your disposal, if you have the time. Plus, it’s the best coffee you’ll get in Laurel or for several, several, several long miles.
My next entry, we’ll hit Natchez, Mississippi. There’s so much to see in historic Natchez you’ll need some of these places to power you through your mini holiday.