TASTY TRAVELS: Blue Plate Specials

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

At about 10 every morning, Ted Jackson’s stomach starts rumbling.
“It’s not long after breakfast, and right before lunch, but I’m always thinking about food,” said Jackson, a handyman who knows where to find a good meal.
The best time to get lunch, in his opinion, is before the noon rush.
“I try to get to a restaurant between 11 and 11:30. That way, you get first choice,” he said.
What Jackson and millions of other workers often look for are “blue plate specials,” also known as “meat and threes” or “meat and twos.”
Many restaurants, especially smaller diners and cafes, roll out the lunchtime specials that have a set price.
Some restaurants offer a buffet, some have menus.
Typical Southern fare includes favorites like chicken and dumplings, fried catfish, hamburger steak, barbecue (ribs, pulled pork, chicken), chicken spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, green beans, purple hull peas, fried green tomatoes, mashed potatoes, corn bread, rolls, and of course, desserts like cobbler, pie and banana pudding.
Restaurants often keep a rotation of the same foods so that customers know when they can get their favorites.
“Hands down, I’m a sucker for good chicken and dumplings,” said Jackson, who said he tries to be in Tupelo every other Thursday at Rick’s Mart on South Thomas Street. “The other Thursdays they have chicken and dressing. They’re both good.”
Turns out, Rick’s Mart is one of several places where hungry folks like to get their blue plates.
Here are six more, as recommended by Daily Journal readers:

AJAX DINNER
Location: 118 Courthouse Square, Oxford
Phone: (662) 232-8880
Owner: Randy Yates
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Must try: Chicken and dumplings, catfish, hamburger, pork chops, po-boys

MARTHA’S MENU
Location: 702 Cruise St., Corinth
Phone: (662) 287-2590
Owners: Martha Cherem and Keith Wilkins
Hours: Monday-Saturday 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Must try: Breakfast any time, especially omelets and pancakes; banana pudding, turkey and dressing, grilled chicken livers, baked ham

MS. RUTH’S DINER
Location: 307 College Ave., Verona
Phone: (662) 566-1600
Owner: Ruth Bramlett
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Must try: Banana pudding, cobblers, pies, cakes, pan-fried chicken, chicken strips, salmon patties

OMAR’S
Location: 766 Highway 145 North, Baldwyn
Phone: (662) 365-8517
Owners: Edith and Wayne Holmes
Hours: Wednesday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 4 to 9 p.m.
Must try: Hamburger steak, fried or grilled pork chop, baked beans, purple hull peas, barbecue, chicken strips

RED ROOSTER
Location: 107 N. Main St., Pontotoc
Phone: (662) 488-0018
Owners: Tammy and Kerry Tackitt
Hours: Lunch Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 5 to 9 p.m.
Must try: Chocolate cobbler, barbecued green beans, chicken spaghetti

ROMIE’S GROCERY
Location: 804 W. Jackson St., Tupelo
Phone: (662) 842-8986
Owners: Rob and Leeann Lesley
Hours: Lunch Sunday-Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner Thursday-Saturday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Must try: Romie’s burger, fried green tomatoes, catfish, salads, hamburger steak