In the heart of the Mississippi River’s Delta region, Greenwood, Mississippi became its unofficial culinary capitol with the rise of the Viking Corporation, and the resulting benefits that brought the greats of the culinary world through the small town. That was a couple of decades ago, but what’s happening now is truly amazing—and definitely worth the trip.
As cities like Atlanta, Nashville, and Birmingham grow more cosmopolitan, the Delta has meandered on its own course, much like the river that is its lifeblood. Greenwood has become one of the most interesting culinary destinations in Mississippi – and perhaps, the Southern U.S.
Where to Stay
Greenwood’s world-class boutique hotel and spa, The Alluvian, is a favorite getaway for Mississippians and visitors alike, rich in experience just like the rich alluvial soils for which it borrows it’s name.
What to Eat – and When to Eat It
Most of the restaurants in the charming downtown area offer an inspired take on classic southern cuisine.
Inside The Alluvian another Delta gem, Giardina’s Restaurant. Giardina’s represents the beginning of downtown Greenwood’s food scene renaissance that’s not to be missed. The surprisingly sleek design and nouveau southern cuisine of Delta Bistropub is a short walk down the street. Both places are lively night spots where locals and tourists alike gather. One of the most interesting things about being in Greenwood is that you are going to run into international tourists who have come to the Delta to experience Blues music firsthand. I found it so interesting to see my home state through their eyes.
After a night on the town, I recommend enjoying the generous breakfast buffet at The Alluvian. Then, you can relax and stroll to another place that features one of Mississippi’s greatest natural resources, writers. Turnrow Books is a charming bookstore and cafe that focuses on Mississippi writers and those that write about Mississippi. You can also get a very civilized cappuccino in the bookstore’s upstairs loft.
For lunch, visit one of my favorite restaurant finds in the entire state of Mississippi: Fan & Johnny’s. Fan & Johnny’s is the newest restaurant in downtown Greenwood, created by James Beard Award-nominated chef, Taylor Bowen Ricketts. Her unique perspective and creativity gives us an incredible lunch restaurant that has world class food featuring a smorgasbord of local ingredients. Plus, you’ll find original art by Taylor and her husband adorning the walls of this memorable dining experience.
There are other dining gems in Greenwood that the locals recommended to me and exploring is really what makes food travel fun. Serio’s, The Crystal Grill, or the old school fine dining at Lusco’s are all worth the trip.
The Viking Cooking School has interesting classes running almost constantly, and it is usually full of locals who will truly welcome a visitor and show you why Mississippi is known as the “Hospitality State.”
The Viking influence has certainly brought talented people to Greenwood, but the real charm of the Delta comes from the locals. The southern drawls are as thick as molasses and time goes a little slower in the Delta.
Make sure Greenwood, Mississippi is on your bucket list of places to explore with your tastebuds this year. You won’t be disappointed!