The mention of good food and gas stations in the same breath is not a juxtaposition in Mississippi, rather it’s a Southern tradition
In Mississippi, gas station eateries are more than a fuel stop and unhealthy snack grab for travelers. Folks south of the Mason-Dixon line covet refueling station food because they are a deep part of the culinary culture.
Long before highways were established, Black women walked for miles from their Mississippi kitchens juggling boxes of homemade chitlins and collard greens to the nearest train depots to serve weary travelers from all walks of life. This tradition continued through the Jim Crow and post-emancipation times when industrialization grew. Modernized train cars became a thing of the past, with new roads appearing throughout rural Mississippi, creating a new requisite for motorists in the South.
Out of necessity, gas stations sprang up intending to fuel travelers’ vehicles and their stomachs. They also served as safe havens for Black travelers to fuel up and have a sit-down meal where other places were still turning them away or worse. These gas station food spots supported the crews building the roadways and their equipment along with rural workers from nearby small towns.
These gourmet gas stations in Mississippi serve convenient satiating food that tastes like it was cooked in grandma’s kitchen. Be sure to call well in advance, as many places have limited seating. Or opt for take-out and enjoy your meal at the local park with the group.
Mississippi Gas Station Food Spots:
- The Market Café at the Fleetway
- Rib Daddy’s
- 4 Corners Chevron
- Vine’s Quality Meats and Smokes
- Seafood Express
- And more
In the small town of Centreville on the Wilkinson/Amite County lines is a fourth-generation smokehouse creating one-of-a-kind smoked meats. Vine’s Quality Meats and Smokehouse have been servicing travelers near and far who luckily stop there to fuel up. They offer a myriad of unique flavors and meats that have been slow-smoked the old-fashioned way. Using local Mississippi green hickory and the Vine family secret, their smokehouse sausage is sought after by folks from around the country. They also process venison for local deer hunters.
If you find yourselves traveling through Meridian, a must-visit gas station pit-stop is Seafood Express off Interstate 59. Fill up on their famed po’boys loaded to the brim with the freshest shrimp, scallops and catfish, or try delectable snow crab legs when in season. Rave reviews from return patrons sing this spot’s praise and people drive from hours away just for a taste. Try a basa, mahi or flounder filet blackened or grilled and taste the authenticity. They also serve soft shell crab, oysters and shrimp.
A delicious sit-down meal can be had at The Market Café at the Fleetway in Gluckstadt, Mississippi. They offer gasoline and a full-service restaurant cooking up Southern cuisine like fried chicken, po’boys and smoked meats. They also provide quick grab-and-go sandwiches, wraps, salads and more. The contemporary interior is warm and inviting, with plenty of seating for your group. They also have over 20 locations throughout Mississippi that you can find on their website fleetwaymarket.com/locations if you aren’t in the Gluckstadt area.
Barbecue lovers unite at Rib Daddy’s in Jackson for fall-off-the-bone tangy spare ribs, Southern fried chicken, smoked turkey and superb soul food. Check out their multiple locations in Madison, Canton and Carthage for finger-lickin’ authentic ’cue like pork chop sandwiches on white bread and turkey legs with Southern sides.
In Oxford, Mississippi, travelers head to the 4 Corners Chevron downtown for the Southern staple chicken-on-a-stick. This easy-to-eat crunchy fried chicken was made famous at the well-known Chevron gas station decades ago and has remained a popular go-to roadside food site. This particular Chevron station has been featured on The Travel Channel and in Bon Appetit magazine for its “World Famous Chicken on a Stick” recipe that keeps bringing people back for more.
Conveniently located halfway between Charleston and Oakland on Highway 32 in Mississippi is the aptly named Midway Market and Deli. Bring the group here for affordable meal combos like burgers, cheesesteaks, po’boys, fresh seafood and an assortment of Southern side dishes. From their ribeye po’boy and lemon pepper hot wings to classic American fare like cheeseburgers and fries with ice-cold beverages, this one-stop shop is sure to satiate everyone in your group.
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By Heather Dale