Biscuits & Blues
315 Main St.
Beer Selection: Unusually good variety of national and regional beers.
Food: As good as Southern cooking gets. (Real good)
By Matt Norris
I don’t believe in luck. At least not when it comes to finding a good place to eat while on the road.
No, you’ve got to put some effort into it if you want to avoid eating all your meals from a Taco Bell sack.
Trust me, I’ve learned that the hard way.
But just because I don’t believe in luck, doesn’t mean that Lady Luck doesn’t shine on me every once in awhile.
Tonight was just such a night as I stumbled into Biscuits & Blues, which was quite by accident.
My previous research had actually led me to the famous Southern restaurant, Cock-of-the-Walk, that started right here in Natchez, MS.
By the time I checked into my hotel and ventured out to eat, it was 9pm.
And I knew my best laid plans were in deep trouble the moment I pulled up next to the only car in the vast parking of Cock-of-the-Walk down by the Mississippi River.
I caught the last waitress on her way out the front door who just laughed at me when I asked if they were open. “Honey, we’ve been closed for an hour and a half. But I think Taco Bell is open.”
I should have known. I live in a small Southern town that makes Natchez look like a metroplex. Quite simply, if you are hungry after 8pm, you are out of luck.
Before resigning myself to a run for the border, I gave my rental car one more spin through downtown Natchez.
That’s when I spotted the glimmer of life emanating from Biscuits & Blues.
I couldn’t believe my luck as I slammed the car into park and walked through the front door. I saw real people actually eating and drinking at the ungodly hour of 9:15pm – a time when any self-respecting Southerner would already be sound asleep.
At this point, I was just thrilled I had an opportunity to order a beer and something not fast-food.
But then, when I fully realized the name of this place into which I had stumbled, I felt like someone who just received a pardon from President Trump.
Biscuits & Blues. I know that name.
I have been here before. I was sure of it.
Sure enough, the front of the menu said “Natchez & San Francisco”.
Almost 20 years ago, I spent one of the best nights of my life listening to a great blues band and dining on real Southern fried chicken and biscuits – all in the left-loving coastal city of San Francisco. You know, the home of Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and tax-payer-funded sex changes.
Wow. Come to think of it, this is even better than being pardoned by Mr. MAGA himself!
Unfortunately, there was no rocking live blues band at this version of Biscuits & Blues. In fact, the bartender had just popped in a Don Henley in concert DVD the moment I sat down.
I mean, Don Henley is great, but the blues he ain’t.
While the music may not have quite lived up to my two-decades-old California dreamin’ memory, the food certainly did not disappoint.
First out of the kitchen was a basket of what had to be the best biscuits I’ve ever had – warm, light, and fluffy. Golden brown on the outside and greasy through and through – and even better smeared with sweet apricot butter, melting instantly on the warm dough.
My Southern fried catfish was crispy and simple. A few dashes of Tabasco livened up the cornmeal batter perfectly.
On the side came garlic mashed potatoes and half of a tomato, lovingly hollowed out and hand-carved into a work of art, and stuffed with creamed spinach.
It never ceases to amaze me how normally gross sounding vegetables like spinach, broccoli, butter beans, okra, and squash can go from healthy to decadent in the hands of a skilled Southern cook. No mother in America would ever have trouble getting their kids to eat spinach if it tasted like what they serve here.
I also ordered their baked beans, which were even better with big chunks of BBQ pork.
Almost as exciting as the food was the beer selection – something you just don’t expect in the South.
One of the few drawbacks about living in the South, aside from finding someplace to eat after the sun sets, is its lack of variety in beer. Most of my redneck friends won’t touch anything not in a red, white, and blue can.
Coors Light? “Yuppie beer.”
With attitudes like that, any Southern microbrewery is swimming against the tide.
But Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company is doing just that here in the great state of Mississippi. At Biscuits & Blues, I drank a few of their Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale, brewed with real Mississippi pecans. Absolutely delicious and the perfect complement to great Southern cooking.
By 9:55, I had finished off an outstanding meal. The place had cleared out and the waitress was sweeping the floor and turning out the lights.
As I stepped out onto the Main St. sidewalk, only the sound of crickets could be heard in downtown Natchez. It was like the waitress and I were last two people awake in all of Mississippi.
The stars were shining brightly in the clear summer sky. As I meandered down the street towards my rental car, I contemplated the role of fate in my evening
Instead of a sad night of eating Taco Bell and a 40oz Budweiser on the Comfort Inn bedspread, I had unwittingly stumbled into one of my all-time favorite restaurants – the only one in town open past 8pm.
As I looked up at the bright Mississippi moon while I fumbled with my keys, I saw a streak of light shoot across the Southern sky.
My lucky star? Nah, I don’t believe in luck.
Rating: Bought the Shirt!