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Whistle stop cafe.

Is there a more iconic restaurant in the South than the small-town diner? When you are in the mood for a hearty meal, lots of vegetables, and recipes with no surprises at all, then you know it's time to find a diner. The Whistle Stop Cafe in Wiggins is a classic example of what you just might be looking for.

A hallmark of this culinary venue is hospitality, so expect to be called honey or sweetie pie when you order. You should also expect to have snappy service; the kitchen staff are pros at banging out 100-tops for lunch, no sweat. Another standard you can count on is a plate full of food at a low cost, so don't be surprised if that loaded plate lunch sets you back less than $10.

The Whistle Stop's casual dress code requires nothing more than blue jeans and a baseball cap. When people get up to leave it takes a while, as they have to stop at almost every table to say hello. The menu is exactly what you would expect from a hometown diner. It is refreshing and charming--something a big-city, white-tablecloth place will never be.

Hands down, you've got to start with the fried green tomatoes. Like everything else that is fried here, they are soaked in seasoned milk wash and fried in cornmeal. Crisp, light, and flavorful, the tomatoes don't even need the little plastic cup of sauce served with them; just cut them into bite-size pieces and enjoy.

The chicken salad and po-boys (which are nicely toasted French bread and stuffed full of shrimp or whatever you choose) are great, but the home-style country meals are hard to beat. Sometimes a country-fried steak and white gravy just can't be resisted. When it is fried just right, with the meat so tender and the batter is crisp, and it comes out steaming hot--and nobody skimped on the gravy--what could be better?

The hamburger steak platter and the fried pork chops are part of that Southern foodways bliss, cooked perfectly with a choice of two great sides; now there is a dilemma! How can a hungry person choose between mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn, barbecue beans, potato salad, coleslaw, and fried okra? It just isn't fair.

Next time you are zipping along Highway 49, pull onto Magnolia Drive and you will find yourself less than two miles from the Whistle Stop. Forget about deadlines, leave the workplace stress in the car, and saunter in and enjoy. The good folks at the Whistle Stop Cafe will sure be glad to see you!


Whistle Stop Cafe

127 Magnolia Dr., Wiggins


Hours: Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday to Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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Title Annotation:back road bistros: food & entertaining
Author:Brunt, Julian
Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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