By Chef Jesse Houston
About Chef Jesse Houston
Jesse Houston is the executive chef of Fine & Dandy in Jackson, Mississippi. A Texas native, he moved to Oxford to work with chef John Currence at City Grocery. He came to Jackson to assist in the opening of Parlor Market and in 2014, he became the executive chef of Saltine Oyster Bar. In 2016, Houston was named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef Southeast. In November of 2017, Jesse Houston and Ray-Scott Miller, president of Miller Hospitality, opened Fine & Dandy.
Fine & Dandy
New to Jackson, they describe themselves as "an innovative rendition of an All-American burger joint." The cheeky menu features items listed as "Tater Tots We Didn't Make" and the "Worse Ribs in Town", named to avoid comparison with other established barbecue styles. They also have signature burgers with various toppings, and non-meat burgers like catfish, chicken and veggie choices.
100 District Boulevard, Jackson, MS 39211
JESSE HOUSTON'S JACKSON GUIDE
COFFEE | Sneaky Beans
This is a coffeehouse, cafe, and beer parlor.
My Pro Tip: Make sure to go on Saturday when the owner makes biscuits -- it's a ritual for a lot of Jackson residents.
914 North State Street, Jackson, MS 39216
DINER FOOD | Waffle House
Why? "Because, well, it's Waffle House. When I was growing up in Texas, as a teenager Waffle House had an All You Can Eat menu for $9.99. Twenty years ago that was a lot of money to someone in high school for a meal, but it was always a challenge to eat omelettes, patty melts, breakfast sandwiches, burgers, hash browns, and more. If you somehow managed to eat all of that and finish with a waffle, you won. I only achieved this coveted victory once. These days I wonder why they don’t just change the name of the place to 'Hash Brown House', because everyone knows that's the real reason you go there.
My Pro Tip: I always order a patty melt with extra pickles and mayo. But the real star is the covered, smothered, diced, peppered, chunked and capped, shredded and dehydrated, boxed potatoes reconstituted with hot water and then placed on a well-greased flat top until the exterior is crunchy and the interior is pillowy. NEVER add ketchup.
96 Riverview Drive, Flowood, MS 39232
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SOUL | Bully's Restaurant
It's the only James Beard winner in Jackson. It's soul food served on trays.
My Pro Tip: Make sure to get the trotter's.
3118 Livingston Road, Jackson, MS 39213
CHINESE | Mr. Chen's
This a Chinese market with a little dining area. It's badass.
My Pro Tip: Here's what to order:
I always start with these. They are hot, pillowy pockets of rich porky juiciness and come with a side of ponzu style sauce for dunking. At around $5 for ten, they are the best valued appetizer in the city. Order them the second your waiter comes to greet you and take your drink order. They take a while and will often come out after your entree.
Stir Fried Anchovy with Peanuts
The best kept bar snack secret in town. Tiny little whole crispy fish tossed with peanuts, jalapeños, and five-spice powder. Order a Tsingtao beer to wash them down.
Chen's Crazy Spicy Chicken
Pretty much the same combo as the anchovy snack, but nuggets of crispy and juicy chicken fried along side bits of tofu with peanuts, dried chiles, jalapeños, and five-spice. Depending on the spice level of the jalapeños that day, this dish can be mild or crazy spicy indeed.
Szechuan Beef Noodle Soup
Rich, spicy, and utterly satisfying -- this bowl of noodles in a red oil slicked beef broth has chunks of mystery beef that melts in your mouth, tendons and all.
Roast Duck on Rice
See those ducks hanging by the neck under a heat lamp by the cash registers? They take half a duck and chop it up, bones and all, and place it on a bed of rice before drizzling the whole thing with rich duck juice. It comes with cabbage and pickled mystery vegetables that help cut the fattiness of the duck.
Salted Crispy anything
Shrimp, chicken, or oysters are fried in a light salty batter with onions and cilantro. The whole, head on shrimp can be eaten shell and all, which is where all the flavor is. Don't let those beady black eyes scare you, they are tasty.
Pork in Black Bean Sauce
Technically not on the menu (I think it comes as either chicken or beef), but they make it for you. Thin slices of pork are tossed with vegetables and fermented black beans which are my absolute favorite part. They have a salty, umami quality.
5465 Interstate 55 North Frontage Road, Jackson, MS 39206
SOUTHERN | Parlor Market
This is a rustic little spot with absolutely amazing pastas. Parlor Market has gone through some dramatic changes over the last several years, but under the helm of chef Chaz Lindsey, it is definitely worth a trip for his classic and creative pastas.
My Pro Tip: If you want a small taste of what [former owner/chef] Craig Noone dreamt up almost 8 years ago, try Craig's Oyster Salad. It is crispy fried gulf oysters over grilled romaine with smoky comeback sauce, toasted pepitas, and house made ricotta cheese. Wash it down with a Front Porch which is a play on sweet tea and lemonade with Cathead Vodka. Then order one of Chaz's signature pastas.
115 West Capitol Street, Jackson, MS 39201
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