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Best of Jackson 2019: Food and Drink

Georgia Blue plate lunch Trip Burns/File Photo

Georgia Blue plate lunch Trip Burns/File Photo Photo by Trip Burns/File Photo

Margarita; Outdoor Dining: Babalu Tapas & Tacos

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Trip Burns/File Photo

(622 Duling Ave., Suite 106, 601-366-5757, eatbabalu.com)

Multiple-category winner Babalu Tapas & Tacos is one of the places to be in Jackson, whether you're going out friends and or the family, or even for a business meeting. For one thing, its name is an "I Love Lucy" reference, so of course, the business projects episodes of the show on the wall adjacent from the hostess stand.

But Babalu is more than that. For one thing, its patio space is one of the best places to chill out with people, whether you feel like sitting at a normal table or if you're on a date and want to sit in a more relaxing space.

The restaurant is also known for its margaritas. It does have a seasonal special, but it also has something else: Margarita Mondays, where all on the menu are $5.

For those who like a tiny bit of entertainment with their meal, patrons can request guacamole, and someone will make it right at their table.

Tacos is in the name, so at least once, you should try one of those dishes. The menu includes options such as roasted chicken with roast corn, cotija cheese, tomatoes and a cumin lime aioli; and a cauliflower taco with comeback sauce, cilantro slaw and radish. Babalu's menu also features dishes such as the torta Cubana, which has pulled pork, ham, pickles, a sweet mustard barbecue sauce and Swiss cheese; and shrimp and grits with an herb creole sauce, mushrooms and cilantro. The restaurant has desserts such as cheesecake bites, cinnamon bread pudding, and Babalu butter cake.

For more information, visit eatbabalu.com. —Armani T. Fryer

Best Place for Cocktails

Finalists: The Apothecary at Brent's Drugs (655 Duling Ave., apothecaryjackson.com) / Barrelhouse (3009 N. State St., 769-216-3167, barrelhousems.com) / BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111, bravobuzz.com) / CAET Wine Bar (3100 N. State St., Suite 102, 601-321-9169, caetwinebar.com) / Fine & Dandy (100 District Blvd. E., 601-202-5050, eatdandy.com)

Best Place for a First Date

Finalists: 4th Avenue Lounge (200 S. Lamar St., 769-572-4669, 4thavenuejxn.com) / Amerigo (6592 Old Canton Road, 601-977-0563; 155 Market St., Flowood, 601-992-1550; amerigo.net) / Fine & Dandy (100 District Blvd. E., 601-202-5050, eatdandy.com) / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen (1200 N. State St., Suite 100, 601-398-4562, themanshipjackson.com) / Walker's Drive In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633, walkersdrivein.com)

Best Happy Hour

Finalists: 4th Avenue Lounge (200 S. Lamar St., 769-572-4669, 4thavenuejxn.com) / CAET Wine Bar (3100 N. State St., Suite 102, 601-321-9169, caetwinebar.com) / Fondren Public (2765 Old Canton Road, 769-216-2589) / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen (1200 N. State St., Suite 100, 601-398-4562, themanshipjackson.com) / Saltine Restaurant (622 Duling Ave., Suite 201, 601-982-2899, saltinerestaurant.com)

Best Margarita

Finalists: El Sombrero (640 Highway 80 E., Clinton, 601-925-8282; 12 Airstream Lane, Byram, 601-946-9299; 278 Dogwood Blvd., 601-919-8921) / Papitos Mexican Restaurant and Grill (multiple locations, papitosmexicanrestaurant.com) / Picante's Mexican Grill (960 N. State St., 601-398-1344; 132 Port Gibson St., Raymond, 601-526-9070) / Sombra Mexican Kitchen (140 Township Ave., Suite 100, Ridgeland, 601-707-7950; 111 Market St., Flowood, 601-215-5445, sombramexicankitchen.com)

Best Outdoor Dining

Finalists: Aplos (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 174, 601-714-8989, eataplos.com) / Fine & Dandy (100 District Blvd. E., 601-202-5050, eatdandy.com) / Keifer's (120 N. Congress St., 601-353-49756; 710 Poplar Blvd., 601-355-6825, keifers.net) / The Pig & Pint (3139 N. State St., 601-326-6070, pigandpint.com)

Best Place for Healthy Food; Place for Hummus; Vegetarian Options; Ethnic Market: Aladdin Mediterranean Restaurant, Aladdin Mediterranean Grocery

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Trip Burns/File Photo

(730 Lakeland Drive, 601-366-6033, aladdininjackson.com)

Aladdin Mediterranean Restaurant is one of Jackson's premiere spots for Mediterranean food and healthy options. The restaurant has gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan choices for its customers, including tzeki salad, meat or veggie dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), a lamb shank plate and more. The restaurant's hummus, which blends tahini paste, lemon and pureed chickpeas, is definitely a popular choice for Jacksonians, as it won Best Hummus this year. And the restaurant's menu has other options such as sandwiches like beef kababs and even a burger. Aladdin also has a multitude of desserts, like baklava and Burma.

Right next door to the restaurant also sits Aladdin Mediterranean Grocery, where you can buy Mediterranean products.

For more information, find the business on Facebook. —Jenna Gibson

Best Place for Healthy Food

Finalists: Aplos (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 174, 601-714-8989, eataplos.com) / Crossroads Cafe (398 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-790-7141) / freshii (748 MacKenzie Lane, Flowood, 601-718-0020; 120 District Blvd. E., 769-235-1632; freshii.com/us) / Kale Me Crazy (1067 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite D, Ridgeland, 601-499-0459, kalemecrazy.net) / Mama Nature's Juice Bar (655 Lake Harbour Drive, Suite 400, Ridgeland, 601-499-4936, mamanatureswellness.com)

Best Place for Hummus

Finalists: Aplos (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 174, 601-714-8989, eataplos.com) / Athenos Greek & Lebanese Cafe (111 Colony Crossing, Suite 490, Madison, 601-605-1400, athenoscafe.com) / Babalu Tapas & Tacos (622 Duling Ave., Suite 106, 601-366-5757, eatbabalu.com) / Keifer's (120 N. Congress St., 601-353-49756; 710 Poplar Blvd., 601-355-6825, keifers.net) / Zeek'z (96 Laurel Park Drive, Flowood, 769-572-4802, zeekzdogwood.com)

Best Vegetarian Options

Finalists: Aplos (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 174, 601-714-8989, eataplos.com) / BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111, bravobuzz.com) / freshii (748 MacKenzie Lane, Flowood, 601-718-0020; 120 District Blvd. E., 769-235-1632; freshii.com) / Mama Nature's Juice Bar (655 Lake Harbour Drive, Suite 400, Ridgeland, 601-499-4936, mamanatureswellness.com)

Best Ethnic Market

Finalists: Carniceria Valdez (2275 Highway 80, 601-352-6300; 6530 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-899-6992) / Mr. Chen's (5465 Interstate 55 N., 601-978-1865, mrchensjackson.com) / Patel Brothers (1999 Highway 80 W., Suite 15, 601-353-6611; 6800 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 
601-952-0332, patelbros.com)

Best Local Fried Chicken; Lunch Counter or Buffet; Soul Food: Mama Hamil's Southern Cookin' & BBQ

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Photo courtesy Mama Hamil's

(480 Magnolia St., Madison, 601-856-4407, hamils.com)

Buffets are always nice because they let you get a variety of different foods for one flat price. That way, you can try a little bit of everything. And at Mama Hamil's—this year's winner for Best Local Fried Chicken, Lunch Counter or Buffet, and Soul Food—that is exactly what you can get. The main dishes include meatloaf on 
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; red beans and rice on Tuesday and Thursday; its acclaimed fried chicken Monday-Saturday. Mama Hamil's also has southern sides such as fried okra, turnip greens and barbecue beans; desserts such as banana and bread puddings; and for those who want something a little lighter, Mama Hamil's also has dishes such as cucumber and tomato salad, and a California kale salad.

The restaurant has catering options, and a private event room. For more information, visit hamils.com. —Amber Helsel

Best Local Fried Chicken

Finalists: Char Restaurant (4500 Interstate 55 N., 601-956-9562, jackson.charrestaurant.com) / Fannin Mart Restaurant (5419 Highway 25, Suite M, Flowood, 601-992-0411) / The Gathering at Livingston (106 Livingston Church Road, Flora, 601-667-4282, livingstonmercantile.com) / Primos Cafe (2323 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-936-3398; 515 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-898-3600; 201 Baptist Drive, Madison, 601-853-3350, primoscafe.com) / Rooster's (2906 N. State St., 601-982-2001, glennfoods.com)

Best Lunch Counter or Lunch Buffet

Finalists: Brent's Drugs (655 Duling Ave., 601-366-3427) / Ichiban Chinese Buffet (multiple locations, ichibanbuffetms.com) / McDade's Markets (1220 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-8486; 653 Duling Ave., 601-366-5273; mcdadesmarkets.com) / Primos Cafe (2323 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-936-3398; 515 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-898-3600; 201 Baptist Drive, Madison, 601-853-3350, primoscafe.com) / Spice Avenue (4711 Interstate 55 N., 601-982-0890, spiceavenuerestaurant.com/v1)

Best Soul Food

Finalists: Bully's Restaurant (3118 Livingston Road, 601-362-0484) / Gloria's Kitchen 
(2430 Bailey Ave., 601-362-0009; 3417 N. West St., 601-397-6173) / Sugar's Place (168 W. Griffith St., 601-352-2364) / The Trace Grill (574 Highway 51, Suite F, Ridgeland, 
601-853-1014, thetracegrill.com)

Best Local French Fries; Mediterranean Food; Hangover Food: Keifer's

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Trip Burns/File Photo

(120 N. Congress St., 601-353-49756; 710 Poplar Blvd., 601-355-6825, keifers.net)

If you want a restaurant that has food to help you get through your hangover, good local fries and Mediterranean food, look no further than Keifer's. The multi-year Best of Jackson winner placed first in all three of those categories this year.

First off, the fries themselves are probably one of the best hangover foods you can find in Jackson. And Keifer's has two types: curly and cottage fries, or ones that are sliced length-wise from a potato. The cottage fries by themselves are good, but the feta dressing that comes with them makes them taste even better.

If you need something more substantive than fries, Keifer's also has gyros, including the chicken Yavne with onions, barbecue sauce and lettuce, and the veggie cheese with mozzarella or feta cheese, lettuce, onion, tomatoes, peppers and zazeeki; and salads like the Grecian, which has lettuce, tomato, cucumber, olives, peppers, feta cheese, veggies and onions. And if people tell you to get the pita mozz, or grilled mozzarella on top of a pita and served with feta dressing, listen to what they're saying.

For more information, visit keifers.net or keifersdowntown.com. —Amber Helsel

Best Local French Fries

Finalists: Aplos (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 174, 601-714-8989, eataplos.com) / CAET Wine Bar (3100 N. State St., Suite 102, 601-321-9169, caetwinebar.com) / Fine & Dandy 
(100 District Blvd. E., 601-202-5050, eatdandy.com) / The Manship Wood 
Fired Kitchen (1200 N. State St., Suite 100, 601-398-4562, themanshipjackson.com) / Rooster's 
(2906 N. State St., 601-982-2001, glennfoods.com)

Best Mediterranean Food

Finalists: Aladdin Mediterranean Restaurant (730 Lakeland Drive, 601-366-6033, aladdin
injackson.com) / Aplos (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 174, 601-714-8989, eataplos.com) / Athenos Greek & Lebanese Cafe (111 Colony Crossing, Suite 490, Madison, 
601-605-1400, athenoscafe.com) / Yiayia's Greek Kitchen (587 Highway 51, Suite J, Ridgeland, 601-853-1110, yiayiasgreekkitchen.net) / Zeek'z (96 Laurel Park Drive, Flowood, 
769-572-4802, zeekzdogwood.com)

Best Hangover Food

Finalists: Brent's Drugs (655 Duling Ave., 601-366-3427) / Fenian's Pub (901 E. Fortification St.; 601-948-0055; fenianspub.com) / The Pig & Pint (3139 N. State St., 601-326-6070, pigandpint.com) / Rooster's (2906 N. State St., 601-982-2001, glennfoods.com)

Best Place for Oysters; Seafood: Half Shell Oyster House

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Photo courtesy Facebook/Half Shell Oyster House

(115 Laurel Park Cove, Suite 105, Flowood, 769-257-7586, halfshelloysterhouse.com)

When Half Shell Oyster House opened in Flowood, it definitely brought a little piece of the ocean with it. Owner Bob Taylor opened the first location in Gulfport, Miss., in 2009, and in the intervening years, the restaurant expanded to other Mississippi cities, including Hattiesburg and Biloxi, and to Florida and Alabama. In September 2015, Half Shell expanded to the metro area, opening a location near Market Street in Flowood.

The business' oyster selection includes classics such as charbroiled oysters with a white wine, butter, garlic and herb sauce; oysters Rockefeller cooked with spinach, cream cheese, herbs and Pernod, and topped with Parmesan cheese; and specialty ones like the oysters Orleans, which are charbroiled over an open flame and basted with a New Orleans-style smokey Cajun sauce. For those who like seafood in general, Half Shell also has a menu that includes dishes such as seafood pot pie, seafood-stuff Portobello mushrooms, seafood-centric pastas and more.

For more information, find the business on Facebook or visit halfshelloysterhouse.com. —Amber Helsel

Best Seafood

Finalists: Crab's Seafood Shack (6954 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-5040) / Drago's Seafood Restaurant (1005 E. County Line Road, 601-957-1515, dragosrestaurant.com) / Sal & Phil's Seafood & Lounge (6600 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-1188) / Saltine Restaurant (622 Duling Ave., Suite 201, 601-982-2899, saltinerestaurant.com) / Seafood R'evolution (1000 Highland Colony Pkwy., Ridgeland, 601-853-3474, seafoodrevolution.com)

Best Place for Oysters

Finalists: Drago's Seafood Restaurant (1005 E. County Line Road, 601-957-1515, dragosrestaurant.com) / Saltine Restaurant (622 Duling Ave., Suite 201, 601-982-2899, saltinerestaurant.com) / Seafood R'evolution (1000 Highland Colony Pkwy., Ridgeland, 601-853-3474, seafoodrevolution.com) / Shucker's Oyster Bar (116 Conestoga Road, Ridgeland, 601-853-0105, shuckersontherez.com)

Best Breakfast; Best Place for Dessert: Primos Cafe

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Trip Burns/File Photo

(2323 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-936-3398; 515 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-898-3600; 201 Baptist Drive, Madison, 601-853-3350, primoscafe.com)

This year's winner for Best Breakfast, Primos Cafe, understands the importance of a good breakfast. And for the breakfast connoisseurs who will eat eggs, bacon and pancakes at any time of the day, you're in luck. It doesn't matter if you go to the Jackson, Ridgeland or Madison locations at 6:45 a.m. or 8:30 p.m.; you can still enjoy menu items such as buttermilk pancakes, omelets, parfaits, chicken biscuits and more. And if you just really want breakfast catered, Primos has a breakfast buffet.

For those who enjoy the sweeter side of life, the restaurant is also this year's Best Place for Dessert. The restaurants are renowned for their cakes, which include caramel, Italian cream and German chocolate; lemon ice box or pecan pies; desserts such as petit fours and fudge squares; cookies in flavors such as oatmeal and peanut butter; and more. For those who want something savory, Primos also has cheese straws and bursts.

For more information, visit primoscafe.com. —Amber Helsel

Best Breakfast

Finalists: Brent's Drugs (655 Duling Ave., 601-366-3427) / Broad Street Baking Company (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 101, 601-362-2900, broadstbakery.com) / Jo's Diner (241 Ridge Way, Flowood, 601-988-9000, josdiner.net) / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen (1200 N. State St., Suite 100, 601-398-4562, themanshipjackson.com)

Best Place for Dessert

Finalists: Amerigo (6592 Old Canton Road, 601-977-0563; 155 Market St., Flowood, 601-992-1550, amerigo.net) / BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111, bravobuzz.com) / La Brioche Patisserie (2906 N. State St., 601-988-2299; La Brioche at the Museum, 380 S. Lamar St., 601-965-9900, labriochems.com) / Lou's Full-Serv (904 E. Fortification St., Suite B, 601-487-6359) / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen (1200 N. State St., Suite 100, 601-398-4562, themanshipjackson.com)

Best Chinese Food; Sushi/Japanese: Ichiban Chinese Buffet, Ichiban Hibachi & Sushi

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Photo courtesy Facebook/Ichiban

(mulitple locations, ichibanbuffetms.com)

If you go away from the Ichiban buffet hungry, it's your own fault. There are nearly 100 items on the buffet menu, with everything from Asian donuts to 13 different ways to cook chicken. You can choose from seafood dishes such as boiled shrimp, soups such as egg drop soup, and noodles and cake. Ichiban also offers "American food" like hotdogs, pizza and apple pie. One of the coolest things about the Flowood location is the sushi conveyor belt. It runs around the sushi bar and every few minutes, the sushi chef places a small plate of two sushi pieces on the belt and it travels around the bar. People sitting next to the conveyor belt can pluck off as many plates as they want.

Another cool thing about Ichiban is it's not just a buffet. There's also Ichiban Hibachi & Sushi in Flowood and Pearl. The menu includes everything from bento boxes with in choices like chicken teriyaki and shrimp tempura to hibachi in choices like vegetable delight, and filet and lobster.

For more information, find the businesses on Facebook. —Dawn Dugle

Best Chinese Food

Finalists: Hunan Wok Carry Out (6556 Old Canton Road, 601-956-8988) / Mr. Chen's Restaurant (5465 Interstate 55 N., 601-978-1865, mrchensjackson.com) / Tokyo Tasty Chinese & Sushi Buffet (1410 Old Square Road, 769-216-2420, tokyotastybuffet.com) / Wok To Go (4329 N. State St., 601-981-2112)

Best Sushi/Japanese

Finalists: Bonsai Japanese Steakhouse (1925 Lakeland Drive, 601-981-0606; 102 Clinton Center Drive, Clinton, 601-924-4448; bonsaijxn.com) / Edo Japanese Restaurant (5834 Ridgewood Road, Suite C, 601-899-8518) / Nagoya Japanese Sushi Bar (6351 Interstate 55 N., Suite 131, 601-977-8881; 111 Colony Crossing, Suite 380, Madison, 601-856-5678) / Osaka Japanese Restaurant (4325 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-936-7000) / Sakura Bana (4800 Interstate 55 N., Suite 11, 601-982-3035, sakurabanajackson.com)

Best Beer Selection at a Store: McDade's Markets

(1220 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-8486; 653 Duling Ave., 601-366-5273; mcdadesmarkets.com)

These days, beer doesn't have to just be domestic or imported. Data from the Brewers Association shows that retail dollar sales of craft beer now account for more than 23 percent of the $111.4-billion beer market in the U.S. The trend has caught on here in Mississippi, as the state now has at least eight breweries. McDade's Markets do have domestic and imported beers, but the stores now also put a focus on craft beer. The stores also have growlers, or a 64-ounce glass jug for the beers on tap. McDade's charges a one-time fee for the growler, and the next time, the customer only pays for the beer.

For more information, visit mcdades
markets.com. —Amber Helsel

Finalists: Barley's Beer Barn (1716 Highway 51, Suite E, Madison, 601-790-7901) / Hops & Habanas (2771 Old Canton Road, 769-572-4631; hopsandhabanas.com) / LD's Beer Run (5006 Parkway Drive, 769-208-8686)

Best Food Truck/Mobile Vendor: One Guy Steak and Chicken

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File Photo

(601-503-5908, oneguysteakchicken.com)

This year's winner for Best Food Truck/Mobile Vendor, One Guy Steak and Chicken, is one of the trucks in Jackson you need to find. Owner and chef Kendrick M. Gordon makes that easy. With an online "Where's the truck?" feature on his website, customers can easily access the truck's ever-changing location.

The menu includes dishes like grilled 
filet mignon with leek-mashed potatoes and a tarragon cream sauce; a blackened chicken sandwich with applewood bacon, smoked gouda cheese, fries and One Guy's specialty sauce; and more.

The food truck is available for events Monday through Friday. At its location on Lakeland Drive, the food truck is open on Saturday from 11 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and on Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

For more information, find the business on Facebook. —Jenna Gibson

Finalists: 2 for 7 Kitchen (601-837-1794) / 30 Below Rolled Ice Cream (601-720-3847) / Chunky Dunks Sweets Truck (601-506-5951) / Dutch's Oven Street Food (505-400-8927, dutchsovenfoodtruck.com) / LurnyD's Grille (now closed)

Best Meal Under $10: The Trace Grill

(574 Highway 51, Suite F, Ridgeland, 601-853-1014, thetracegrill.com)

Best Meal Under $10 winner Trace Grill is a family-friendly restaurant with classic home-cooked southern food, and the best part is it's affordable, too. Trace Grill has won in the category of best meal under $10, and there's plenty on the menu to choose from within that amount. For example, the blue-plate specials with cornbread and a drink is just $9.50 just to start. All of their burgers and sandwiches are under $10, every single one of them. Red beans and rice and hot dogs are under $10 too, I could keep going but you get the point.

For more information, find the business on Facebook. —Sarah Pollard

Finalists: Aladdin Mediterranean Restaurant (730
 Lakeland Drive, 601-366-6033, aladdininjackson.com) / Aplos (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 174, 601-714-8989, eataplos.com) / Basil's (2906 N. State St., Suite 104, 601-982-2100; 120 N. Congress St., Suite L1, 601-944-9888) / Hibachi Express (117 Highway 80, Clinton, 601-488-4068) / McDade's Markets (1220 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-8486; 653 Duling Ave., 601-366-5273; mcdadesmarkets.com)

Best Fine Dining; Restaurant: Char Restaurant

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Photo courtesy Char Restaurant

(4500 Interstate 55 N., 601-956-9562, charrestaurant.com)

This year's winner for Best Fine Dining and Best Restaurant, Char Restaurant, is a longtime Jackson favorite. The restaurant, which now has locations in Nashville and Memphis, Tenn., has an extensive menu that includes everything from country fried chicken with garlic cheddar stone grits and red onion-bacon gravy to chargrilled Mahi with Delta Grind garlic cheddar grits, grilled asparagus, jumbo lump crab meat and a sriracha butter sauce.

The restaurant also has private dining rooms and banquet rooms for meetings, luncheons and special events. Char is open from Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., until 10:30 on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, find the business on Facebook. —Sarah Pollard

Best Fine Dining

Finalists: BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111, bravobuzz.com) / Ely's Restaurant & Bar (115 W. Jackson St., Suite 2E, Ridgeland, 601-605-6359, elysrestaurant.com) / Koestler Prime (1000 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite 6001, 601-957-3753, koestlerprime.com) / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen (1200 N. State St., Suite 100, 601-398-4562, themanshipjackson.com) / Walker's Drive In (Walker's Drive In, 3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633, walkersdrivein.com)

Best Restaurant

Finalists: BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111, bravobuzz.com) / Fine & Dandy (100 District Blvd. E., 601-202-5050, eatdandy.com) / Lou's Full-Serv (904 E. Fortification St., Suite B, 601-487-6359) / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen (1200 N. State St., Suite 100, 601-398-4562, themanshipjackson.com) / Walker's Drive In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633, walkersdrivein.com)

Place to Get Coffee; College Student Hangout: Cups Espresso Cafe

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Photo courtesy Zilpha Young

(multiple locations; cupsespressocafe.com)

Cups Espresso Cafe is a cool, relaxed and chill spot for a college students to study in peace, while enjoying a warm cup of coffee or other drinks such as a mocha. Luckily, Cups has locations across the metro area. Some of the business' coffee specialties include regular drip coffee, cold brew coffee, shots in the dark (espresso in drip coffee) and more. For more adventurous types, the Cups in Fondren also has nitro coffee, which gives the beverage a beer-like feel. The locations also have treat options such as Umpqua Oats, muffins and cream cheese Danishes. For those who enjoy art, many of the locations also feature work from local artists.

For more information, visit cupsespressocafe.com. —Armani T. Fryer

Best Place to Get Coffee

Finalists: Deep South Pops (1800 N. State St., 601-398-2174; 4500 Interstate 55 N. Frontage Road, 601-398-0623, deepsouthpops.com) / Fusion Coffeehouse (1111 Highland Colony Pkwy., Ridgeland, 601-856-6001, fusioncoffeehouse.com) / M7 Coffeehouse (111 N. Wheatley St., Ridgeland, 601-790-7971) / Mocha Mugs (1800 W. Government St., Brandon, 601-825-1006; 5610 Highway 25, Brandon, 601-919-3684; 119 Grandview Blvd., Madison, 601-605-0160; mochamugs.com) / Sneaky Beans (2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349)

Best College Student Hangout

Finalists: Deep South Pops (1800 N. State St., 601-398-2174; 4500 Interstate 55 N. Frontage Road, 601-398-0623, deepsouthpops.com) / Fenian's Pub (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055, fenianspub.com) / Fondren Public (2765 Old Canton Road, 769-216-2589) / Ole Tavern on George Street (416 George St., 601-960-2700, oletavern.com) / Sneaky Beans (2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349)

Best Barbecue: The Pig & Pint

(3139 N. State St., 601-326-6070, pigandpint.com)

Barbecue is almost a universal language. Across the globe, there's Korean barbecue and Japan's yakiniku (a word for grilled meat cuisine), and right here at home, there's Memphis barbecue, Carolina barbecue, St. Louis barbecue and more. Mississippi's barbecue cuisine, at least here in Jackson, tends to pull from the different types in the South, and The Pig & Pint exhibits that. The restaurant has a type of barbecue to fit different tastes, whether you like smoked wings with an Alabama-style white barbecue sauce, Pepsi-glazed ribs or just a regular barbecue sandwich. The menu also includes more modern dishes such as disco fries with nacho cheese, barbecue sauce and more, pork belly corn dogs, and pork, brisket, chicken or fried-green-tomato tacos.

For more information, visit pigandpint.com. —Amber Helsel

Finalists: E&L Barbeque (1111 Bailey Ave., 601-355-5035) / Hickory Pit (1491 Canton Mart Road, 601-956-7079, hickorypitms.com) / Little Willie's BBQ (115 Village Square, Suite G, Brandon, 601-992-6328; 3015 Highway 80 E., 601-397-6698; littlewilliesbarbecue.com) / Smokehouse BBQ (2227 Highway 471, Brandon, 601-829-0520) / Sylvester's MS Style BBQ (9434 Highway 18, Raymond, 601-346-8000)

Best Crawfish: The Crawdad Hole

(1150 Lakeland Drive, 601-982-9299)

The Crawdad Hole owner Joe Schowah has been serving the Jackson metro his crawfish since 1995. He started boiling the crustaceans in a single room take-out restaurant but has worked his way up and perfected his craft. Although The Crawdad Hole is best known for crawfish, at $5.69 a pound, that's not the only dish on the menu. The restaurant also has an assortment of seafood and non-seafood items for customers to choose from. Crab legs, shrimp and gumbo are just some of the fan favorites off the menu. Of course, what pairs best with crawfish is exactly what they have on the menu of sides: potatoes, corn and sausage. If seafood isn't your thing, don't worry they have tamales and turkey necks, too. —Sarah Pollard

Finalists: The Crawfish Hut (6956 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-3474) / Mudbugs (1299 Old Fannin Road, Brandon, 601-992-5225; 151 W. Government St., Suite D, Brandon, 601-706-4751; mudbugscrawfish.com) / Sal & Phil's Seafood & Lounge (6600 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-1188) / T'Beaux's Crawfish and Catering (941 Highway 80 E., Clinton, 601-926-4793; 5252-B Terry Road, Byram, 769-230-3855; tbeauxs.com)

Best Bakery: Campbell's Bakery

(3013 N. State St., 601-362-4628; 123 Jones St., Madison, 769-300-2790, campbellsbakery.ms)

To get your treat and baked goods fix in, why not try Jackson's oldest bakery? When Mitchell Moore took over this year's winner for Best Bakery, Campbell's Bakery, it had been an institution in Jackson for 50 years. He reopened the bakery on March 23, 2011. In 2016, the business expanded to Madison, and Moore has plans to open a Campbell's Craft Donuts in the up-and-coming Belhaven Town Center. Campbell's has baked goods of all types, from cupcakes, cookies and petit-fours, to cakes and pies. For those who are gluten-sensitive, the shop has treats such as gluten-free cupcakes, cookies and more.

For more information, find the business on 
Facebook. —Armani T. Fryer

Finalists: Broad Street Baking Company (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 101, broadstbakery.com) / La Brioche Patisserie (2906 N. State St., 601-988-2299; La Brioche at the Museum, 380 S. Lamar St., 601-965-9900, labriochems.com) / The Prickly Hippie (500 Highway 51, Suite F, Ridgeland,pricklyhippie.com) / Primos Cafe (2323 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-936-3398; 515 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-898-3600; 201 Baptist Drive, Madison, 601-853-3350, primoscafe.com) / Sugar Magnolia Takery (5417 Highway 25, Suite F, Flowood, 601-992-8110)

Best Brunch: The Iron Horse Grill

photo

Photo courtesy Iron Horse Grill

(320 W. Pearl St., 601-398-0151, theironhorsegrill.com)

If you need somewhere for a lunch break or a relaxing brunch while enjoying some live music, one of the best places to do that in town is The Iron Horse Grill. The Jackson landmark, which gets its name from an old term for a steam train, burned down twice since its opening as the Armour Smokehouse in 1906. It reopened in 2014 and has not stopped since. For brunch, patrons can enjoy a waffle and omelet bar from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday, while listening to live music. During brunch, The Iron Horse also has bottomless mimosas. If you want a music experience with your meal, the restaurant also has the Mississippi Music Experience wax museum upstairs.

The Iron Horse Grill is open Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 601-398-0151 or visit theironhorsegrill.com. —Armani T. Fryer

Finalists: BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111, bravobuzz.com) / Char Restaurant (4500 Interstate 55 N., 601-956-9562, jackson.charrestaurant.com) / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen (1200 N. State St., Suite 100, 601-398-4562, themanshipjackson.com) / Saltine Restaurant (622 Duling Ave., Suite 201, 601-982-2899, saltinerestaurant.com) / Table 100 (100 Ridge Way, Flowood, 601-420-4202, tableonehundred.com)

Best Doughnuts: Donut Palace

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Trip Burns/File Photo

(multiple locations)

The people have voted, and Donut Palace is the place to go when you need a sweet treat. The business' menu has just the right balance of the classic and other options for treats that aren't doughnuts.

The locations have croissants with options like ham, egg, cheese, sausage and multiple other great combos. Donut Palace also has eclairs and other assorted pastries such as bear claws and cinnamon rolls. The doughnut options cover all of the bases, and there's something for even the most picky eater, including glazed, cake and old-fashioned doughnuts. The business also has doughnut holes and jelly-filled doughnuts, too, with flavors like vanilla, chocolate, maple, 
lemon, raspberry and more.

For more information, find the business 
on Facebook. —Sarah Pollard

Finalists: Monroe's Donuts and Bakery (6310 Medgar Evers Blvd., 601-981-3208; 255 E. 
McDowell Road, 601-371-1185; 3820 Northbrook Drive, 601-982-1883; monroedonutsandbakery.com) / Pillow Donuts (1679 Old Fannin Road, Suite, D, Flowood, 601-992-6040; 707 Beau Pre Drive, Ridgeland, 601-790-9697) / The Prickly Hippie (500 Highway 51, Suite F, Ridgeland, 601-910-6730, pricklyhippie.com) / V-Donuts (6745 Siwell Road, Suite 211, Byram, 601-487-6246, vdonuts.blogspot.com)

Best Veggie Burger: Burgers & Blues

photo

Trip Burns/File Photo

(1060 E. County Line Road, Suite 22, Ridgeland, 601-899-0038, burgersblues.com)

The veggie burger at Burgers & Blues is not obvious when you first check out the menu. You have to look really closely under "choose your own meat" to find it—a garden burger. But that means the chef can make any of their specialty burgers as a veggie burger with the garden patty. To make it a true vegetarian option, you'll have to hold the bacon on five of the favorite burgers, but choosing the garden patty does not cost extra.

No word on if you can take the "Whammy challenge" with the veggie burger—eating three one-pound patties, a pound of fries and a vanilla shake in less than 30 minutes.

For more information, find Burgers & Blues 
on Facebook. —Dawn Dugle

Finalists: Babalu Tapas & Tacos (622 Duling Ave., Suite 106, 601-366-5757, eatbabalu.com) / BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111, bravobuzz.com) / Fine & Dandy (100 District Blvd. E., 601-202-5050, eatdandy.com) / Local 463 Urban Kitchen (1000 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite 5002, 601-707-7684, local463.com)

Best Liquor/Wine Store: Fondren Cellars

(633 Duling Ave., 769-216-2323)

Whether it's a romantic night, first date or night with the crew, Fondren Cellars is a good place for wine and liquor. While the business has a wide selection of liquors from all over the world, including Hennessey and Pimm's, it also has some from right here in Mississippi, including Cathead Distillery's newest creation, Old Soul bourbon whiskey. The business also has a wide selection of wine, from ones for those who like their wine a little sweeter to those who crave that bitterness.

Every Monday, Fondren Cellars will take 10 percent off wine for medical professionals, medical students and anyone in the medical field, and every Wednesday, all wines are 10 percent off for Wine Wednesday. The business even has a "smart buy" rack for those who want wine but don't have a lot of time. For those who are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of everything Fondren Cellars has, it also has knowledgeable staff members who can help with your selection.

For more information, visit Fondrencellars.com. —Armani T. Fryer

Finalists: Briarwood Wine and Spirits (4949 Old Canton Road, 601-956-5108, briarwoodwineandspirits.com) / Corkscrew Fine Wine and Spirits (4800 Interstate 55 N., Suite 32B, 601-981-1333) / Kats Wine & Spirits (921 E. Fortification St., 601-983-5287, katswine.com) / McDade's Wine & Spirits (1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 320, 601-366-5676, mcdadeswineandspirits.com) / Stanley's Liquor & Wine (1049 S. State St., 601-353-0331)

Best Local Burger: 
Stamps Super Burgers

(1801 Dalton St., 601-352-4555)

Stamps Super Burgers secured the win for Best Local Burger this year, and probably not just because it has been in the community for more than four decades. For light eaters, the restaurant has 8-ounce burgers, cheeseburgers or turkey burgers, but for those who like to eat, Stamps has ones such as the super burger, also known as the Stamps Burger, with a 14-ounce patty.

If you like fries with your burger, Stamps has options: regular fries, with a choice of seasonings like lemon pepper, Cajun, or salt and pepper; and sweet potato fries with a choice of sugar and cinnamon, lemon pepper and more.

For more information, find the business 
on Facebook. —Sarah Pollard

Finalists: Babalu Tapas & Tacos (622 Duling Ave., Suite 106, 601-366-5757, eatbabalu.com) / Burgers & Blues (1060 E. County Line Road, Suite 22, Ridgeland, 601-899-0038, burgersblues.com) / Fine & Dandy (100 District Blvd. E., 601-202-5050, eatdandy.com) / Lou's Full-Serv (904 E. Fortification St., Suite B, 601-487-6359)

Best Gumbo: Gumbo Girl

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(5681 Highway 18 W., 601-790-0486, gumbogirl.com)

Gumbo started on a whim for Marilyn Kithuka, the "Gumbo Girl," and her business of the same name. Kithuka, 47, says she always appreciated the communal nature and power of food from the time she was a child.

"I grew up in north Jackson," she says. "My mom would cook for us. I loved seafood as a kid but we could never afford it. I knew there was more kinds of seafood out there, so it held a special place to me."

Her husband, James Kithuka, spotted the current location off Highway 18 in 2015 and encouraged her to begin the culinary journey and purchase the space with their savings.

"I knew gumbo would be the main draw, and my surf-and-turf recipe is the most popular item," Marilyn says.

The restaurant has dishes such as an all-seafood gumbo with Gulf shrimp, blue crab, crawfish tails, okra and an option of lobster tail; and other dishes such as a vegetarian platter, which is sauteed cabbage with mushrooms in a savory sauce and a choice of a rice, sweet corn cobbette or seasoned potatoes.

For more information, find the business on Facebook. —Mike McDonald

Finalists: Char Restaurant (4500 Interstate 55 N., 601-956-9562, jackson.charrestaurant.com) / Gumbo Spot (640 Grants Ferry Road, Flowood, 601-724-5118, gumbospotflowood.com) / Hal & Mal's (200 Commerce St., 601-948-0888, halandmals.com) / Saltine Restaurant (622 Duling Ave., Suite 201, 601-982-2899, saltinerestaurant.com)

Best New Restaurant: Fine & Dandy

photo

Photo courtesy Fine & Dandy

(100 District Blvd. E., 601-202-5050, eatdandy.com)

Ever since Fine & Dandy opened in early 2018, it has been making waves in the food scene, both for its social-media presence laced with sass and sarcasm (and lots of Betty White), and for the oddly named (but really good) dishes.

When you look at the menu at Fine & Dandy, you might see things like "Tater Tots We Didn't Make," or tater tots with creme fraiche "ranch," smoked trout caviar, pickled onions, cucumber and dill; "Party Balls," or smoked beef and bone-marrow meatballs with a barbecue sauce, onion jam, pickled peppers, crumbled cheddar and breadcrumbs; and the "Cap'n Crunk" adult shake with Cap'n Crunch cereal, butterscotch and Hennessey. My personal favorite is the "Grandma Chick," which is pickle-brined chicken, bread-and-butter pickles and Duke's mayo.

For more information, visit eatdandy.com or find the business 
on Facebook. —Amber Helsel

Finalists: 4th Avenue Lounge (200 S. Lamar St., 769-572-4669, 4thavenuejxn.com) / Aplos (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 174, 601-714-8989, eataplos.com) / Kebab & Curry (160 Weisenberger Road, Madison, 769-300-2493, mykebabandcurry.com) / Mama Nature's Juice Bar (655 Lake Harbour Drive, Suite 400, Ridgeland, 601-499-4936, mamanatures
wellness.com) / MM Shapley's Restaurant (868 Centre St., Ridgeland, 601-957-8000, 
mmshapleys.com)

Best Thai Restaurant: Surin of Thailand

(3000 Old Canton Road, Suite 105, 601-981-3205)

Surin of Thailand, in the heart of Fondren, boasts an extensive menu of Thai cuisine, like pad Thai (which the restaurant calls Thai noodle) and masaman with avocado. The restaurant also has entrees such as roasted duck with red curry and Thai sea bass. There is also a decent-sized sushi menu and full bar. The lunch specials come with a cup of tofu coconut soup and are served fairly quickly.

Surin has indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a private room for large parties.

For more information, find the business on Facebook. —Dawn Dugle

Finalists: Fusion Japanese & Thai Cuisine (1002 Treetops Boulevard, Flowood, 601-664-7588; 1030 Highway 51, Madison, 601-790-7999, fusionjackson.com) / Thai Tasty (5050 Parkway Drive, Suite 7, 601-540-2534) / Thai Time Thai & Sushi Restaurant (1405 Old Square Road, 601-982-9991, thaitimems.com)

Best Italian Restaurant: Amerigo

photo

Photo courtesy Amerigo

(6592 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-977-0563; 155 Market St., Flowood, 601-992-1550; amerigo.net)

Best Italian Restaurant Amerigo has options for any time of day (lunch and dinner, and brunch on the weekends), and it has two locations in the metro area, so you're probably always fairly near one. Amerigo has Italian classics, southern favorites and more, including shrimp scampi, oven-roasted lasagna and smoked chicken ravioli, Tuscan ribeye, and a perennial favorite, shrimp and grits. The restaurants have even recently added a gluten-sensitive section to the menu, and created gluten-free versions of the "Pasta Imperial" and "Pasta Pomodoro," as well as having gluten-free noodles to substitute for most pasta entrees. To top it all, Amerigo stocks an extensive wine list.

For more information, find the business on Facebook. —Sarah Pollard

Finalists: BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111, bravobuzz.com) / Cerami's Italian Restaurant (5417 Lakeland Drive, 601-919-2829, ceramisitalian.com) / Fratesi's Authentic Italian Cuisine (910 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-956-2929, fratesis.com) / Parlor Market (115 W. Capitol St., 601-360-0090, parlormarket.com) / Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919, salandmookies.com)

Best Mexican/Latin: El Sombrero

(640 Highway 80 E., Clinton, 601-925-8282; 12 Airstream Lane, Byram, 601-946-9299; 278 Dogwood Blvd., Flowood, 601-919-8921)

If you're looking for good Mexican food in the Jackson metro area, El Sombrero, the Best Mexican/Latin winner, is a great place to go. To start, bean dip, queso or fresh guacamole are options. The main menu consists of all the favorites such as an assortment of burritos, fajitas, quesadillas and chimichangas, and you can mix and match meats such as chicken, shrimp and steak, and veggies throughout. They have great vegetarian options and a kids' menu as well, and, of course, margaritas frozen or on the rocks with flavors like classic lime or strawberry, peach and mango. For dessert, try fried ice cream, flan, chimichanga cheesecake and more. —Sarah Pollard

Finalists: El Charro Authentic Mexican Restaurant (2086 Lakeland Drive, 601-362-4447) / Green Ghost Tacos (2820 N. State St., 601-487-6082, greenghosttacos.com) / Papitos Mexican Restaurant and Grill (multiple locations, papitosmexicanrestaurant.com) / Picante's Mexican Grill (960 N. State St., 601-398-1344; 132 Port Gibson St., Raymond, 601-526-9070) / Sombra Mexican Kitchen (140 Township Ave., Suite 100, Ridgeland, 601-707-7950; 111 Market St., Flowood, 601-215-5445, sombramexicankitchen.com)

Best Plate Lunch: Georgia Blue

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Georgia Blue plate lunch Trip Burns/File Photo

(111 Colony Way, Suite 130, Madison, 601-898-3330; 223 Ridge Way, Flowood, 601-919-1900; georgiablue.net)

Georgia Blue has a menu with tons of options, but their plate-lunch menu is one of particular interest to Jacksonians. After all, they did vote the business Best Plate Lunch. Georgia Blue serves the blue plates Monday through Friday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each day, they have two different meat options that you pick one of, and four side options you can pick two or three of. Some of the meat options include country-fried steak with gravy, fried catfish, and on Sundays, prime rib with a demi glaze. The sides are time-honored southern favorites like macaroni and cheese, turnip greens, fried okra, lima beans and mashed potatoes. As you can see there are plenty of options and so much to try.

For more information, find the business on Facebook. —Sarah Pollard

Finalists: Bully's Restaurant (3118 Livingston Road, 601-362-0484) / Logan Farms Honey Glazed Ham & Market Cafe (110 E. Northside Drive, Suite 250, 601-366-4267, loganfarms.com) / 
McDade's Markets (1220 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-8486; 653 Duling Ave., 601-366-5273; mcdadesmarkets.com) / Primos Cafe (2323 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-936-3398; 515 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-898-3600; 201 Baptist Drive, Madison, 601-853-3350, primoscafe.com) / The Trace Grill (574 Highway 51, Suite F, Ridgeland, 601-853-1014, thetracegrill.com)

Best Wine List/Selection (Restaurant): CAET Wine Bar

photo

Trip Burns/File Photo

(3100 N. State St., Suite 102, 601-321-9169, caetwinebar.com)

Chef Derek Emerson and Jennifer Emerson's newest restaurant and wine bar, CAET, is a place you want to go if you're looking for a truly extensive wine selection. It offers more than 30 by-the-glass wine selections each night, made possible with the business' wine-preservation system from Napa Technologies. For the wine list, they offer sparkling, rose, whites and reds ranging from Napa Valley, Calif., to Isonza, Italy.

CAET has plenty of snack options such as a charcuterie board, raw or broiled oysters, lamb sliders and more. The dinner menu features dishes like pan-seared scallops and pan-roasted duck.. For dessert, you can enjoy a lemon ice-box tart, and also dessert wines like sherry and port. CAET offers selections from countries all across the globe, the perfect place for a wine connoisseur and food lover alike to dive in.

For more information, find the business on Facebook. —Sarah Pollard

Finalists: BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 244, 601-982-8111, bravobuzz.com) / Char Restaurant (4500 Interstate 55 N., 601-956-9562, jackson.char
restaurant.com) / Koestler Prime (1000 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite 6001, 601-957-3753, 
koestlerprime.com) / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen (1200 N. State St., Suite 100, 601-398-4562, themanshipjackson.com)

Best Local Pizza: Pizza Shack

(925 E. Fortification St., 601-352-2001; 219 Garden Park Drive, Madison, 601-856-8600; The Bank by Pizza Shack, 200 W. Leake St., Clinton, 601-708-1708; pizzashackpizza.com)

Pizza Shack has been a staple in the Jackson community for a while now, and their legacy for best pizza continues. For pizza, they have 20 options on the menu from classics to specialties, and if that isn't enough, a build-your-own option, too. A few of the favorites include the Supreme with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sausage, beef, bacon, bell pepper, mushrooms, onion and black olives; and the Thai chicken pizza with a peanut sauce, provolone and mozzarella cheeses, marinated chicken, green peppers, onion and carrots.

While it may seem weird to some to not get pizza at a place with the food in the name, Pizza Shack has other options like Buffalo wings and cheese sticks. The business also has salads such as the Asian chicken with iceberg lettuce, marinated chicken, roasted red peppers, green and red cabbage, carrots, sesame seeds and an Asian sesame seed ginger dressing; and sandwiches such as the meatball sub.

For more information, find the business on Facebook. —Sarah Pollard

Finalists: Aplos (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 174, 601-714-8989, eataplos.com) / Lost Pizza Co. (multiple locations, lostpizza.com) / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen (1200 N. State St., Suite 100, 601-398-4562, themanshipjackson.com) / Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint (565 Taylor St., 601-368-1919, salandmookies.com) / Soulshine Pizza Factory (1111 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 1, Ridgeland, 601-856-8646; 5352 Highway 25, Suite 1100, Flowood, 601-919-2000)

Best Steak: Tico's Steak House

(1536 E. County Line Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-1030, ticossteakhouse.com)

Thirty years of business has given Tico's Steak House room to keep perfecting what the restaurant does best: steak. The results have shown, as voters made Tico's Best Steak in this year's contest. The restaurant offers a variety of steak options like fillets, ribeye, New York strip and porterhouse, and also quintessential pairings like steak and lobster.

For those who want something a little different, Tico's also serves seafood dishes such as crab claws, shrimp and fresh fish. Of course, there are other options like salad, lamb chops and chicken dishes, and an abundance of side options, too. To top it off, Tico's has a substantial wine list with red and whites from regions around the world.

For more information, visit ticos
steakhouse.com. —Sarah Pollard

Finalists: Char Restaurant (4500 Interstate 55 N., 601-956-9562, jackson.charrestaurant.com) / Ely's Restaurant & Bar (115 W. Jackson St., Suite 2E, Ridgeland, 601-605-6359, elysrestaurant
.com) / Koestler Prime (1000 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite 6001, 601-957-3753, koestlerprime.com) / MM Shapley's Restaurant (868 Centre St., Ridgeland, 601-957-8000, mmshapleys.com) / Walker's Drive In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633, walkersdrivein.com)

Best Sandwich Place: Beagle Bagel

(4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 145, 769-251-1892; 100 Mannsdale Park Drive, Madison, 601-856-4377; thebeaglebagelcafe.com)

A sandwich is a pretty basic idea: It's some type of substantial filling (meat, veggies, etc.) between two slices of bread. However, just because it's simple, doesn't mean it can't taste good. A local favorite for sandwiches, specifically bagel sandwiches, is this year's winner for Best Sandwich Place, Beagle Bagel.

The story goes that Horace P. Belvedere's New York City native beagle, which would eat, you guessed it: bagels. Once Belvedere ran out, his mother began making them herself, and eventually the family opened the first iteration of Beagle Bagel. The restaurant has something for every sandwich lover, from a pizza bagel with marina and cheese melted on a bagel, to a chicken salad Panini with provolone cheese, tomato and pesto mayo. Beagle Bagel is, of course, most renowned for its bagel menu, which includes ones such as sesame, garlic, sun-dried tomato and chocolate chip. Cream-cheese flavors include garlic and herb, chive, strawberry and cinnamon swirl.

For more information, visit thebeaglebagelcafe.com. —Amber Helsel

Finalists: Basil's (2906 N. State St., Suite 104, 601-982-2100; 120 N. Congress St., Suite L1, 601-944-9888) / Broad Street Baking Company (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 101, 601-362-2900, broadstbakery.com) / Room Service (4659 McWillie Drive, 601-362-4617; 1010 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite 104, 601-707-3600) / Steve's (125 S. Congress St., 601-969-1119; 200 S. Lamar St., 601-714-5683; stevesdowntown.com)


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