I love me some Mississippi. I've been here for work so many times, and although it was the opportunity for warmth in the winter that originally appealed to me, the incredibly thoughtful people and insanely comforting food have helped catapult it to one of the top spots on my travel list.
Wait, you say - did she just tell us that Mississippi is one of her favorite places to travel? Oh, yeah. If you're from up North (or maybe from most places), Mississippi as a travel destination is not really on your list. There aren't big amusement parks like Disney or beaches across the state, and even the capital is pretty low-key, with about 10 terminals in the whole airport (but don't tell anyone there that their airport is small! Seriously). But if you are looking for true Southern hospitality, where anyone you walk by makes eye contact and politely says hello, or holds doors when you're practically a quarter mile away, or calls you endearments that you would straight up murder someone for doing back home - but with such kindness and perfect accents that you know they're just, like good people - look no further than Mississippi.
And to continue with my first of what I'm sure will be many love letters to Miss Miss, I want to talk about Meridian. This city is about an hour and a half east of the capital, and it is a perfect introduction to the state. After a nice long drive full of...well, grass and huge trees? That's pretty much it. But anyway, after your cruise down the highway you are sure to be hungry, and although Meridian holds a few of my favorite Southern haunts, the first place I'd recommend you go for lunch is Weidmann's.
This beautiful old brick building, with a huge sign out front, is one of the fanciest places in the city. I would go there every day for lunch, and between the perfect fried green tomatoes, cheese grits, and lunch specials of paninis (always with fontina - oh my god fontina), soup (gumbo or chowder - drool city), and homemade potato chips (crispy and salty with a dry ranch seasoning that I would honestly murder someone for - please don't tell I said that if you notice I'm arrested one day), they are the place to be any time of the day.
What I'd recommend for you, my beautiful gluten free friends, is the catfish. These thin but flavorful fillets are fried and served on a salad - go Caesar (minus croutons)! - and will make your mouth water as soon as they're set down. Whether you're sitting at the bar, one of the white tablecloth spots in the dining room, or out on the second floor deck, you'll receive plenty attention from the incredibly kind servers. One one visit, a server insisted on helping a man - who seemed completely competent - carry his lunch bag and tray of two iced teas to the car out front. This might seem normal if you're reading this in the South, but the thoughtfulness and attention to detail - and moreover, true decency wanting to help someone out - made this stand out to me. Plus, every time I left I was offered a to-go cup of more iced tea that was basically McDonald's Super Size.
If you're sitting on the deck or just trying to walk off your food, try to spot all of the painted carousal horses around the city. One of the biggest selling points of the city is a particular type of carousel house that is only in operation in Meridian, so a public art project was created as a fundraiser for a local children's charity where local artists painted five foot tall horses. These works of art have lasted about 13 years so far, and range from horses in front of local shops and city buildings to ones matching fast food restaurants. I caught about 30 on my last visit, and still missed a few good ones.
Thank you Weidmann's for so many delicious lunches, exciting trivia nights, and relaxing filling dinners. With such wonderful people and amazing food, it's no surprise you've been in business so long.
Anything else you recommend in Meridian, or do you have recommendations for great gluten free options across the big beautiful state of Mississippi?