A Newcomer’s Guide to Clinton and Jackson Dining

College. When people move into a new situation in a new location with new people and new activities, a college likely fits into the picture.

Well, either a college or a nursing home or a prison. For now though, time would probably be best spent on a college and specifically on the dining opportunities available to students who choose to attend Mississippi College.

While new Choctaws will find plenty of chow choices on campus, from Cups to Pimento’s to Hampstead’s to whatever the place under the cafeteria decides to become, some of the best options are off campus.

In this article, a Clinton native of more than a decade shares his top picks for great eats in this great area.

OEC Japanese Express: Not to be confused with Hibachi Express, Takara, Takara Express, China Express, or Yummy, OEC Japanese Express offers fine Japanese hibachi food at a great economic value with quick service in a casual setting.

This establishment serves everything from edamame to the classic California sushi roll, but most people go here for their signature chicken hibachi meal, which essentially features light grilled chicken, fresh stir fried vegetables, and a mound of savory fried rice.

If one decides to go here, they should make sure they leave with some of OEC’s “pink sauce”.

Salsa’s Grill: Like OEC, this local business often finds itself confused with its competition in the minds of Clintonian consumers. Make no mistake though; this Mexican establishment has made strides above the competition.

Established circa 2008, this place began as a struggling mom and pop diner serving Mexican fare, but after a time, Salsa’s came to lead the pack of local, fairly priced Tex-Mex offerings.

As the name would suggest, the salsa here is outstanding; and, the Salsa’s special and the fajitas serve as excellent and satisfying entrees.

More than the great food, though, Salsa’s provides even better customer service through an attentive, personal, and professional staff that has been known to remember regulars and even these regular’s drink orders.

If a mouth is in the mood for Tex-Mex, it should go to Clinton’s own Salsa’s Grill.

Froghead Grill: Long Clinton’s most popular local restaurant, Froghead Grill specializes in American cuisine. Located right next to Applebee’s, Froghead offers a wide range of updated American classics including salads, soups, po-boys, burgers, and platters.

The best dish here is probably the Fredwich. Listed as “Fred’s favorite late night snack”, it’s easy to see why this sandwich featuring crispy chicken strips and bacon, smooth Mozzarella cheese, and remoulade and pico de gallo that rival those of their ethnic roots has carved itself a place as one of the city of Clinton’s favorite dishes.

And if excellent food and a stellar reputation do not offer enough reason to visit Froghead Grill, this business also has a solid relationship with Mississippi College, employing many of the university’s students and offering sizable discounts to its students and faculty.

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Photo by Abby Jo Thompson

The Blue Rooster: A newcomer to the Clinton community, the Blue Rooster Grill brings a fresh perspective on the classic burger to the Clinton community. The winner of many statewide food awards, this restaurant undoubtably serves the best burger within the city limits.

This place does not stop at burgers, though. In its simple but nice country environment, this spot also offers chicken sandwiches and plate lunch specials.

For the true Blue Rooster experience, one should try the Flamethrower or the Rooster Burger, the later of which is a build-your-own burger experience that can be made with everything from crispy bacon to creamy and kicky pimento cheese and on to a myriad of other quality burger “fixin’s”.

For a real adventure, one could also visit the Blue Rooster’s Flora location, the little spot that started it all.

Brent’s Drugs: Featured in the award-winning film “The Help,” this Jackson landmark has not lost any of what made it a place to be many years ago. Located in the Fondren area of Jackson, this place offers burgers that rival those of the Blue Rooster spots, but then goes above and beyond.

The milkshakes here help this restaurant reach these heights. Older than most of Mississippi College’s student body, these sweet treats give every person who tries them a cool, creamy, flavor experience that is not easily forgotten. Still, the phenomenal food only makes up half of the Brent’s experience.

Brent’s also serves as a kind of museum displaying classic items including a real retro soda fountain from back in the day. While this diner and drug store diamond may be out of the way, it truly offers the definitive Jackson area dining experience.

– Jay Kucia, Contributing Writer

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