Heading to Starkville, Mississippi soon? Trying to figure out the best places to eat? Whether you’re looking for a blueberry cobbler coffee or some truffle mac and cheese on its own or shrimp and avocado cheese fries, we’ve got you covered right here with a list of the tastiest destinations to hit while you’re in town.
Strange Brew Coffeehouse
605 MS-12, Starkville, MS 39759
These reviews of Strange Brew Coffeehouse, Two Brothers Smoked Meats and Bin 612 all originally appeared April 23, 2017.
I would have been a terrible 1990s newspaper columnist. First, I can’t spit out blazing 850-word hot takes four times a week because I don’t get that fired up about any topic other than barbecue. Second, I couldn’t write the your-city-stinks column when one of the teams from my town played the team from your town. I don’t think anyone’s city stinks because I can find something great to eat just about anywhere. In college football, Starkville might get the biggest bum rap from the your-city-stinks crowd.
I’ve never had a bad time in Starkville. The Blueberry Cobbler coffee from Strange Brew Coffeehouse alone would make each trip a joy. I suppose that Starkville’s size (tiny) and relative isolation (the biggest cities within a two-hour drive are Jackson, Tupelo and Tuscaloosa) might not seem attractive to those who dwell in larger cities, but Starkvegas can be just as much fun as any other southern college town if you know where to look.
Two Brothers Smoked Meats
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’m on Team Petty’s over Team Little Dooey when it comes to the battle for Starkville’s barbecue soul, but a new spot that veers more toward barbecue-based sandwich shop than straight barbecue joint has added some intrigue to that competition. Two Brothers Smoked Meats sits in the Cotton District near Mississippi State’s campus, and it’s shocking that there isn’t a constant stream of students seeking out the pork rind nachos at all hours of the day and night. What are pork rind nachos? Replace corn chips with fried-to-order pork skins and then cover them with pulled pork, cheese sauce, sour cream and tomatoes. Unlike nachos, pork rinds don’t get soggy after sitting under that bounty. They retain their crunch, and their thickness makes each bite more satisfying than a wimpy chip ever could.
On the day I visited Two Brothers, they had smoked some pork belly. That meant I could order pork belly tacos and pork belly mac and cheese. As we discussed several times last year, the only thing better than bacon might be proto-bacon, and the crispy chunks of smoked pork belly that filled those tacos and topped that creamy mac and cheese made a relatively low-priced meal feel quite luxurious. If you prefer straight meat to meat-infused carbohydrate delivery vehicles, order some smoked wings. They’ll pair perfectly with the expertly curated beer selection.
Across University Drive from Two Brothers is Bin 612, a grown-up drinking spot that hasn’t forgotten it lives in a college town. The beer and wine selection is excellent, but the place’s best feature—and the one that draws big lines on weekends—is its extensive selection of cheese fries. Anyone can melt some cheddar over fries and toss in a little bacon. (In fact, Bin 612 does that but also adds jalapeño.) Bin 612 has cheese fries for every occasion. Drinking beer? Get the buffalo chicken tender cheese fries. White wine? Truffle parmesan. Red wine? Shrimp, avocado and Sriracha. When this last one came to the table, it had so many shrimp piled on top that I didn’t realize there were any fries beneath. But they were under there, and the briny shrimp, the salty fries, the creamy avocado and the fiery Sriracha blend together into a beautiful bite. Like the pork rind nachos across the street, once everyone at the table has a taste, it’s a race to see who can grab the most bites before it’s gone.
You’ll sleep heavily after all those cheese fries, but if you wake on a Thursday or a Friday, you can perk up with the aforementioned blueberry cobbler coffee at Strange Brew. And if you do, you’ll never bash Starkville again.