Most of my favorite things in Hattiesburg involve food; frankly, I believe that’s what Hattiesburg has going for it most. In a town of 45,000 that is (more than) replete with Mexican, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants, as well as the ubiquitous chains, there are some locally-owned culinary jewels that make eating out fun.
Favorite (Vegetarian) Dishes in Hattiesburg:
1. Tabella (Italian): Roasted vegetable lasagna or margherita pizza (another tie)
Part of Robert St. John’s empire, and definitely my favorite. More vegetarian options than Crescent City.
2. Jutama’s (Thai): Drunken noodles with tofu or Pad Thai with tofu (it’s a tie)
The drunken noodles are delightfully spicy and savory; the Pad Thai is my ultimate comfort food.
3. Caliente Grille: Black bean/guacamole burrito
Since you build your own, there are plenty of vegetarian and healthful options. The guacamole is the best in the town, hands down.
4. Petra Café: Falafel gyro and tabbouleh (a tie)
Also technically a Jackson-based restaurant, and wonderful. Lovely atmosphere, belly dancing, and hookahs to boot.
5. C’est la Vie Bakery: Every pastry I’ve had (and I’ve had many), especially the cheesecake
I don’t know how Hattiesburg keeps French baker Janusz Lukowski around, but I hope he stays forever. Quel trésor ce truc!
6. The Depot Coffee Shop: Unsweetened chai latté with skim milk (or soy) – iced in summer, hot in winter
Best coffee shop atmosphere in Hattiesburg, and I appreciate that they make my chai tea unsweetened. They offer a few vegetarian lunch options (I like the tomato soup with a decadent grilled cheese and am looking forward to trying the Farmer’s Market salad, sans goat sausage, on Fridays this summer), and their sweet treats are always yummy.
Favorite Culinary Resources:
It’s small, it’s only once a week, and it only runs April through October – but it’s still my favorite farmer’s market in town.
Organic grocery. Maybe one day they’ll bring their heavenly salad and soup bar . . .
Lovely things for the kitchen, cooking classes, etc.
We used it more when we lived closer to it, but we still enjoy biking and walking the trace. Every now and then we make the 12 mile bike trek out to the Beaver Lake. I have yet to bike the entire 40 miles. Someday.
2. Live at Five concerts (Fridays in Town Square Park downtown, April and October)
Again, it’s small, and it’s only two months a year, but it’s great fun.
3. Outlet sources: Hudson’s Treasure Hunt and UAL
I don’t have the time or patience to really scour these places for treasures, but there are certainly treasures to be had, and, especially at UAL, often from high-end designers.
Hattiesburg is no metropolis, but our cultural events are certainly beyond what one might expect of a town this size.