-Andy O’Brien, Assistant Editor
College is a tough time. Our cash flow is slower than ever, yet we have an insatiable hunger to consume all the same delicious food that we have become accustomed to under our parents’ roof. Perhaps this time of increased appetite is designed to give us one last boost of energy to grow, before we plateau into our adult-sized body for the next 40 or so years. Whatever the reason, the facts are undeniable—college students love eating.
And it isn’t like the Caf is doing us any favors. The Ray and Betty Hannah Food Court is great for seeing friends and grabbing a decently reliable slice of pizza. Unfortunately, even with the experimentation of the international line and vegetarian options, the menu can become somewhat stale. Sure, there are “regulars” at Waffle House and other diners. But no one can be expected to enjoy the cooking of the same kitchen twice a day for four years.
That being said, there are other options. The Jackson area has many delicious cuisines to choose from, and the Jackson Free Press recently released a list of the best. Check out that issue for more on eating in Jackson. Here, we will take a look at my personal favorite restaurants in Clinton.
This list isn’t to rave more about Salsa’s and Chick-Fil-A. Everyone knows about O.E.C. This article is to expand your horizons and let you sample some of the many delicious alternatives that Clinton has.
My favorite new find in our quaint town is Taco Del Mar. According to a quick Google translation, this means “Taco Sea” in English. Imagine an inexpensive, tropical-themed Chipotle or Moe’s. For the unenlightened, these places serve delicious burritos, tacos, and other Mexican-themed fare. Perhaps more notably, the format of these stores is similar to that of Subway, or the deli line in the Caf (for those of you who really need this list). Taco Del Mar brings to Clinton a cheap way to fill your stomach with only your favorite ingredients. You can choose from a range of meats, toppings, and salsas, and combine them into the form of a burrito, taco, bowl, quesadilla, or a plate of nachos. They also have a punch card that can save you a few more bucks along the way. Taco Del Mar is located on Old Vicksburg Road, next to the Domino’s Pizza near Pinelake Church.
Clinton also has a variety of Asian food options, so much so that the problem comes when trying to choose between them. Of the Hibachi restaurants that I’ve sampled, Hibachi Express does it best. Located in the Clinton Crossing plaza across from MC, their first leg up on the competition is proximity. Furthermore, they seem to use better ingredients and provide soup with their rice-and-meat specialty. O.E.C. is, however, the cheaper option. There are also a few buffets in Clinton that specialize in Americanized-Chinese food. ChopSticks Buffet, on Highway 80 just past Chick-Fil-A, is the general favorite. Their offerings are the best in town, and if you go for lunch, it won’t break the bank. The best authentic Chinese restaurant is China Express, also in the Clinton Crossings plaza and right next to Shipley Do-nuts. If you have only eaten sesame chicken in your whole Chinese food career, you are missing out. China Express brings a more authentic style of cooking, with un-breaded meats and veggies aplenty. The sauces are less syrup-based, and the food can be pretty spicy.
Pizza, despite its controversial omission from the nutritional pyramid, is a staple in the American diet. College students are notorious for their consumption of the cheesy bread product, and here at MC, we have an array of options. Fox’s Pizza is my favorite, followed by Hungry Howie’s. Both are smaller chains that are quickly gaining popularity across the country, pushing the old giants like Pizza Hut to try new things like flavored crusts. Fox’s and Howie’s both feature bread-heavy pies with tasty tomato sauce and plenty of cheese. Now all we need in Clinton is a place to grab an authentic New York slice.
This list is not exhaustive. There are many other great restaurants in Clinton, and hopefully this will encourage you to try somewhere new. Allow my suggestions to get you started, and you may just find somewhere new to become a regular at. Bon appetite!