Hidden Gem in Plain Sight: Ms. D’s Southern Cuisine
If you’ve ever traveled southbound on Gallatin Street or attended an event at the historic Ice House on South Street, chances are you’ve passed a hidden gem a dozen times.
A modest brick building with a not-so-accessible parking lot nestled at the intersection of South and Gallatin Streets, Ms. D’s Southern Cuisine has something pretty amazing to offer inside.
Available for breakfast or lunch, this local spot provides plate lunches and traditional breakfast at incredibly affordable price points. With breakfast plates at less than $5 and lunch plates at less than $8, the affordability factor makes Ms. D’s a must-try for any foodie on a budget.
For $7.49, you get your choice of a protein and three sides plus a sweet tea. You read that right, three sides and a sweet tea. But note, if you’re watching your sugar intake and want water instead, be prepared to pay an extra $1.00. For $8.49, it’s not much of a breaking point. However, because this was my first time dining at Ms. D’s Southern Cuisine, I wanted the full experience – including the sweet tea.
The day’s menu is written on a dry erase board tucked in the corner of the counter window. If you want napkins with your plate, you can help yourself to a roll of paper towels on the countertop as well. Forget about the frills you may experience at other lunch spots: this place is about the business of affordable food you’d find in your own kitchen on a Sunday afternoon without much fanfare.
On this day, I had the choice of turkey necks, baked or fried chicken, pork chops, spaghetti or red beans and rice for my main dish item. I chose the turkey necks and my heart skipped a beat when the kind lady in the kitchen reached in a huge stock pot and scooped them out. I watched the steam hit her face as she removed the lid and I could instantly smell the goodness weighing down that Styrofoam plate. The serving size was plentiful and was covered in celery and bell pepper. The turkey necks were bone-suckingly (did I just make that up?) savory and full of tender turkey meat.
What are turkey necks without a side of cabbage and field peas to accompany it? Astonished at the ability to choose a third side, I went with a second helping of cabbage and a homemade cornbread muffin. The field peas were flavorful but were the least of my taste buds’ excitement. The cabbage was loaded with butter and cooked slightly more tender than I prefer, but the flavor was spot-on in richness and spice. Like a true southerner, I used my cornbread to soak up the stock from my turkey necks which had blended with my cabbage stock for a delicious end-of-meal treat.
If I’m on that side of town and I’m looking for a lot of foodie bang for my buck, Ms. D’s Southern Cuisine will be my first stop. If you’re in a budget crunch and looking for a place where you can eat lunch and have enough for dinner, too, Ms. D’s Southern Cuisine is for you. Don’t let the underwhelming and seemingly unassuming outward appearance fool you or keep you away, there’s some good cooking, and eating, going on at 503 South Gallatin Street, y’all. Come hungry!
Carlyn Hicks, founder of Jackson Foodies, lover of all things culinary, pro-Jackson advocate. All opinions expressed in this post are the opinions of the writer and not necessarily those of Sipp Jackson.
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