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Sep 4, 2003 01:04 PM

New Orleans to Chicago

  • r

Hi, I will be driving straight north from New Orleans to Chicago and would love to get any recommendations for places to eat along the way (I-57 and I-55). Going through LA and Mississippi to begin with. Have never done the drive and would really appreciate your help. Thank you!

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  1. v
    Vital Information

    Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but as someone who has done this drive more than once, about the best place to eat near I-55 is Middendorf's, about an hour north of New Orleans.

    Also, on your similiar request on the Midwest board, see my post on the linked thread on re: I-57. It has some ideas for Missouri and Illinois.

    I like Cock on the Walk in Jackson, but it is a very hoaky, probably "un-chowhound" kind of place, and if you can go to Des Almands, LA, you can probably get as good or better catfish.

    Oxford has tons of interesting things including a branch of world famous Doe's Eat, but Oxford is not *quite* on 1-55.

    Finally, in Blythville, Arkansaas, a stop on 55 south of Memhphis, is a really good BBQ shack. I cannot remember its name, but its Blythville, it will not be hard to find.


    3 Replies
      1. re: Vital Information

        Could that be the Dixie Pig in Blytheville? (I haven't been there.) Blytheville is north of Memphis, rather than south, which is all Mississippi.

        1. re: Vital Information

          I've made the trip many times and no longer pride myself on driving 16 hours straight fueled only by coffee and hamburgers. Blytheville has become my favorite halfway point to spend the night and enjoy a good meal. There are a surprising number of decent non-chain restaurants on West Main Street just off the interstate, a welcome find in what is otherwise a culinary desert. One tip: avoid the two side-by-side Greek steakhouses.

        2. Off of I-55 in McComb,MS is a fascinating place called the Dinner Bell. It is about 5-7 minutes from the interstate in the middle of town. You walk in an old house and in the former living room are a number of huge tables that seat about 10 or 15 people. In the center of the table is an enormous lazy susan with all kinds of country food. The place is a riot. The food may not be top notch Chowhound material but the whole experience is a gem.
          I ate at Middendorf's last month and had one of the worst meals all year. Horrible! I was so incredibly disappointed. The onion rings were actually purchased pre-battered and were identical to those found at Burger King. The fried catfish was filled with old grease.
          Not sure about Jackson, MS at all. I can't help you there. In downtown Memphis, the Rendevouz makes some mean bbq.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mikey

            The Dinner Bell is great fun (and sure, it's Chow-worthy, basic and plentiful southern boarding house style food) but it is only open for lunch.

            We, like you, are not fans of Middendorf's. But we appear to be in the minority.

          2. KC's in Cleveland, Mississippi, is highly regarded. But it's a bit off your route.

            1. Hi! I make this drive about 4 times a year (I live in the Chicago burbs). Please feel free to e-mail if you'd like to 'compare notes'. One sure thing I'd tell you is to hit 57 south of Sikeston, NOT to go through St. Louis. That adds about a half hour. Know a couple of good gas stops and bad speed traps, too...

              1. In Memphis, on Poplar Ave. on the East side is a splendid
                bar/grill called the "Belmont". They do snapper (sandwich and entree) grilled, instead of the usual catfish. Steaks, burgers, shrimp and the occasional surprise, decent salads with home made dressing and garlicky sauces. Don't think they use frozen stuff, even for the fryer. We've made about 30 visits and the biggest complaint was slow service on a couple occasions. They have a decent wine list. Our group will do a late lunch in New Orleans, then a late dinner at the Belmont (kitchen open 'till after midnight).

                8 Replies
                1. re: zak

                  mittendorf's: clean ,fresh , catfish- handcut -thick or thin--frsh clean oil-no grease-the cutting a huge concern when ownership changed 2 or 3 years ago--but the new owners stayed witht the same ,wonderfully talented catfish cutter lady -to evreyones relief.( actually the story is he tried some new young people and the staff raised hell about the diminished qualtiy so he went back to the original lady) the turtle soup is wonderful-a different-thinner style than the roux based commanders/brennan derivatives---i love them both but mittendorfs is unique. when they get frsh frogs legs from the local area the frogslegs are great--but often they dont have them ( and so there are no frgslegs available at that time)
                  good pecan pie--- in fact--view anyone who disses mittendorf's with some concern

                  1. re: joeljcj2

                    I agree with Sarah and Mikey on their evaluation of Mittendorf's food. The onion rings were the prepackaged variety, the catfish is greasy and the stuffed crab was uneatable. So look at me with "some concern" Joel. It's not worth the trip. I look with "some concern" at some of these over-the-top love feast reviews that make me wonder if some posters have husbands or other relatives that are some how connected to Mittendorf's.

                    1. re: State St.

                      If you have never been to Middendorf's Restaurant you must stop at Exit 15 off I 55. Go E to Highway 51 and turn right. Go S about a mile to some fine fresh seafood right off the boat. They also serve great salads, gumbo, sandwiches and steaks. Stop to rest even if you don't eat. Get a cold drink and head back.
                      Middendorf's @ 30160 Highway 51, Akers, LA 985 - 386 - 6666.
                      BBQ Station is a good stop in Independence, LA. Get off I 55 at Exit 40 and go E on Highway 40 to Railroad Avenue. Take a right and go two blocks for good BBQ.
                      Bar B Que Station @ 563 W. Railroad Ave., Independence, LA. 985 - 878 - 3747.
                      If you take a rest stop near the LA/MS state line at Osyka, MS get off I 55 at Exit 1 and go E on Highway 584 and go to Second Street. Take a right and go to Nyla's for outstanding burgers. The nearby town of Kentwood, LA is the home of Britney Spears who is a frequent visitor at Nyla's.
                      Nyla's Burger Basket @ 1071 Second Street, Osyka, MS 601 - 542 - 5032.
                      For the best southern cooking in the US go to Dinner Bell in McComb, MS. They are open for lunch only Tuesday through Sunday. Get off I 55 at Exit 17 and go E on Delaware Avenue to S Broadway. Take a right and go 2 blocks to 5th Avenue. Take a right and go to Dinner Bell. You will sit around large lazy susan tables filled with southern specials like fresh vegetable casseroles, fried eggplant and fried chicken. Stop by on your way N.
                      The Dinner Bell @ 229 5th Ave., McComb, MS. 601 - 684 - 4883.
                      If you want good soul food near Summit, MS get off I 55 at Exit 20 and go W. Take your first right on Old Brookhaven Road and go N to Doretha's.
                      Doretha's @ 1139 Old Brookhaven Road, Summit, MS 601 - 276 - 9594.
                      For good BBQ get off I 55 at Exit 72 in Crystal Springs, MS and go E on Highway 27. Go E for about a mile to the Intersection of Highway 27 and Highway 51 to Louise's for outstanding BBQ. Google has Louise's home address so a GPS may take you to the wrong place. Just go straight from I 55 on Highway 27 to the IS of 51 and 27. It's in a brown frame building with a high yellow sign. Here's a link to their menu. They are open to about 9 PM.
                      Bring an ice chest and pick up some custom processed meat from Wilson's Meathouse in Crystal Springs. Get off I 55 at Exit 68 towards Crystal Springs and go E for .4 mile to Highway 51. Take a right and go 1.1 mile and Wilson's will be on your left.
                      Louise Open Pit BBQ @ 26164 Hwy. 27, Crystal Springs, MS. 601 - 892 - 5003.
                      Wilson's Meathouse @ 23086 U.S. 51, Crystal Springs, MS 601 - 892 - 2951.

                      Get off I 55 at Exit 81 and go W to Terry Road. Take a right and go to Wyndale's for outstanding steaks.
                      Wyndale Steakhouse @ 6672 Terry Road, Terry, MS 601 - 878 - 2695.
                      If you stop in Jackson, MS on your way N/S and you would like outstanding fresh seafood or steaks in a great atmosphere get off I 220 Bypass at Exit 1B and go E on Highway 80 to Crechales. It's in an old run down joint on the right but they serve some fine food. Be sure to try their Cumback Sauce. Get a few bottles to take home.
                      Crechale's @ 3107 Highway 80 West, Jackson, MS. 601 - 355 - 1840.
                      Hickory Pit is a great place to stop in Jackson, MS for good BBQ.
                      Hickory Pit @ 1491 Canton Mart Road, Jackson, MS 601 - 956 - 7079.
                      If you stop near Grenada, MS go to High on the Hog or Jake and Rips for good road food.
                      High on the Hog BBQ @ 711 Lakeview Dr., Grenada, MS 662 - 226 - 5635.
                      Jake and Rips @ at 1525 Sunset Dr., Grenada, MS 662 - 227 - 9955.

                      I know you want to visit Memphis for some BBQ and sightseeing. Drive N on Hwy. 61 to the I 240/I 55 bypass around Memphis. Take the I 55 exit W to Little Rock and go N past the TN/AR bridge. You will be on Riverside Dr. at that time. Take a right on Beale St. and go 3/4 blocks E and find a parking place. Walk around Beale St. and visit the joints. Go in B B King's and Dyer's Burgers. Walk around inside The Peabody Hotel for a drink maybe and then The Rendevous for some BBQ across the street from The PB. There are some nice restaurants in the area including Felicia Suzanne's for fine dining at dinner, Stella for lunch or dinner, McEwen's for fine dining, Restaurant Iris for fine dining at dinner only, Automatic Slims for drinks and bar food, Gus' World Famous Fried Chicken and South of Beale for good bar dining.

                      Felicia Suzzane's @ 80 Monroe Ave., Memphis, TN 901 - 523 - 0877.
                      Stella @ 2709 Lombardy Ave., Memphis, TN 901 - 526 - 4950.
                      McEwen's on Monroe @ 122 Monroe Ave., Memphis, TN 901 - 527 - 7085.
                      Restaurant Iris @ 2146 Monroe Ave., Memphis, TN 901 - 590 - 2828. * FD/DINNER.
                      Automatic Slim's @ 83 South 2nd St., Memphis, TN 901 - 525 - 7948.
                      Gus' World Famous Fried Chicken @ 310 South Front St., Memphis, TN 901 - 527 - 4877.
                      South of Beale @ 361 South Main St., Memphis, TN 901 - 526 - 0388.

                      I know you are interested in trying good Memphis BBQ. Here are the top choices.

                      A & R Bar B Que @ 1802 Elvis Presley Blvd., Memphis, TN. 901 - 774 - 7444.
                      BBQ Shop @ 1782 Madison Ave., Memphis, TN. 901 - 272 - 1277.
                      Central BBQ @ 2249 Central Ave., Memphis, TN. 901 - 272 - 9377.
                      Charlie Vergo's Rendezvous @ 52 S. Second St., Memphis, TN. 901 - 523 - 2746.
                      Cozy Corner @ 745 N. Parkway, Memphis, TN. 901 - 527 - 9158.
                      Interstate BBQ @ 2265 S. Third St., Memphis, TN. 901 - 775 - 2304.
                      Neely's BBQ @ 670 Jefferson St., Memphis, TN. 901 - 521 - 9798.
                      One and Only BBQ @ 1779 Kirby Pkwy., Memphis, TN 901 - 751 - 3615.
                      Paynes BBQ @ 1762 Lamar Ave., Memphis, TN. 901 - 272 - 1523.

                      The BBQ Shop and One and Only are my favorites but Payne's is famous for their pulled pork sandwich.

                      1. re: Littleman

                        WOW! Talk about a complete review. Thanks for the information.

                        1. re: State St.

                          The original post was almost 10 years ago. But it's still good info to have.

                      2. re: State St.

                        I liked the thin fried catfish, everything else was blah. As good as the catfish was the two times I had it, it isn't worth driving out of the way for. The first time we were heading to Biloxi so it was a bit out of the way and the second time we were heading to NO from Memphis so it was right on the route.

                        1. re: texasredtop

                          I agree. It's a cute place if you are in the area. You can see the kitties.

                          1. re: State St.

                            I haven't seen the kitties yet but I did look for them. I love the location.