Pasa Okla, or “bread people,” was the Choctaw name for a small band of Native Americans who lived along the Pascagoula River. They were a peace-loving tribe, and among the indigenous peoples, Hernando De Soto met when he explored the Mississippi River region for Spain in the 1540s.
The legend of the Pascagoula people passed down from the European settlers began with an ill-fated love between two coexisting tribes. Anola, a Biloxi princess, eloped with a Pascagoula chief named Altama. She was already engaged to a Biloxi chieftain who declared war on the Pascagoula tribe when he was told of the elopement. Outnumbered by the fierce Biloxi, the Pascagoula feared death or enslavement.
The couple joined hands with the Pascagoula people and walked into the river singing a death song. The Pascagoula river became known as the “Singing River.” Humming can be heard at night near the river in summer and fall, which cannot be explained.
Pascagoula is Mississippi’s flagship city. The rich history dates back 300 years. The historic architecture and colorful characters who visited or lived there, including pirates, presidents, and favorite son, singer Jimmy Buffet draw visitors each year.
The city is twenty-one miles east of Biloxi and one hundred miles from New Orleans, influencing the culinary scene. There’s fresh seafood caught from the Gulf of Mexico and Cajun flavors inspired from Louisiana. Like the other coastal Mississippi towns, Pascagoula experienced economic ups and downs after the Civil War.
After that, devastating fires and the natural disasters of Hurricanes Camille and Katrina took their toll. Still, like her neighbors, Pascagoula rebuilds to welcome guests who love to vacation along the white sand beaches and to experience everything this historic resort town has to offer.
Visiting other destinations in Mississippi? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 10 Must-Try Restaurants In Oxford, Mississippi
- 18 Must-Try Jackson, MS Restaurants & 15 Fun Things To Do In Jackson MS
- 7 Must-Try Bay St. Louis Restaurants
- 5 Best Pass Christian Restaurants
- 5 Best Natchez MS Restaurants
- The 7 Best Mexican Restaurants In Jackson MS
- 6 Best Jackson MS BBQ Restaurants
The 9 Best Pascagoula Restaurants
623 Delmas Avenue // + 1 (228) 762-1900
Scranton’s Restaurant is housed in the famous Scranton Fire Company. This building is over 90 years old built as the new Fire Station and City Hall after a fire destroyed the original station on Delmas Avenue and along Magnolia and Pascagoula Streets.
Then a second fire claimed the remaining businesses and homes four months later. It was a joyous day on February 12, 1925, at the dedication of the new building. There was a parade and tours of the new City Hall, the Mayor’s Office, Courtroom, Jail, Engine Room, and Firemen’s quarters housed inside. Upstairs, a large room held private banquets, boxing matches, parties, and meetings.
Today, patrons get to peek at the town’s history and tour the old jail cell where the bars bent by unruly prisoners are still visible, and memorabilia decorates the walls. Coupled with daily specials and signature dishes, it’s a local favorite for lunch or dinner and catering for parties and events.
I arrived for lunch and took a tour of the historic site first. I adored the charm of the space. I also admired the diverse menu with specialties like Po’boys, gumbos, house-made red beans and rice, and Cajun-spiced shrimp and grits.
But I was in a sandwich mood. The Reuben sandwich of thin-sliced corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and special mustard was calling my name. I ordered it and added coleslaw as my side. The sandwich arrived grilled, and it was crunchy. I loved the crisp outside of the golden bread, and the melted cheese draped over the sauerkraut. It hit the spot. The mustard had the right spice to pull it all together, and the creamy coleslaw cooled my tastebuds.
While I didn’t opt for a local specialty, I spotted the plates go by, and they all looked delicious. The portions are generous, and the ambiance is warm and welcoming. It’s a historic part of Pascagoula for the atmosphere and the food that should be on everyone’s visit list.
Jack’s By The Tracks
709 Krebs Avenue // + 1(228) 334-2337
Jack’s is a unique dining experience in Pascagoula. Their menu has southern favorites like shrimp and grits and Po’boys plus Asian-inspired crawfish balls, poke bowls, tacos with Asian or Latin flavors, and Mississushi. What’s Mississushi? It’s the freshest sushi crafted into rolls with names like The Pascagoula Run and The Big Bayou. With free live music twice a week, it’s a juke joint, a restaurant with a lively bar, and a festive atmosphere.
I happen to love sushi and was surprised when I learned about Jack’s By The Tracks. I was astonished because I never suspected finding a sushi restaurant in Pascagoula. But it was some of the freshest and most innovative sushi I’ve tried. They were setting up for some live music when I stopped in, but since I had a late dinner planned, it was there for a later lunch that day.
I was sorry to miss out on the music, but I wasn’t sad about the sushi; the choices were inventive. I ordered the Rainbow Roll, which had Momo’s Kani salad, tuna, avocado, salmon, sweet soy, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and The Pascagoula Run. This beauty included fried shrimp Kani and avocado in a soy wrap, with crunchies, tobiko, wasabi coulis, sweet soy, and spicy mayo. Both rolls were delicious and incredibly fresh.
I enjoyed both and would have tried more but filled up on those choices. Jack’s even had crawfish sushi called Crawsome. I highly recommend this musical, sushi, and social experience when you’re in town.
Paradise Deli & Grill
610 Delmas Avenue // +1 (228) 769-3000
Paradise Deli is known for juicy charbroiled burgers and flavorful jerk chicken sandwiches, and this Restaurant has a local following. It’s a casual place where you can eat a delicious breakfast or lunch at the grill or pick up your order for take-out.
The portions are enormous, and the menu has something for everyone at reasonable prices. You’ll find gumbo, salads, and a New Orleans traditional submarine sandwich called a Muffuletta. The Muffuletta, revered in these parts for a specific trio of meats – ham, turkey, salami, and provolone cheese.
Then the bread is smeared with olive salad. The bread is special muffuletta bread used only for this specific sandwich. East coasters can order delicious Philly Cheesesteaks too, but the real draw is the Paradise Burger.
I heard so much about the Paradise Burger, I had to have one. It’s all about the jalapeño bun. The chopped peppers are baked right in. The fresh ground chuck patty is grilled to order and basted with BBQ sauce. When it’s ready, it’s topped with fried onions, pepper jack cheese, crisp bacon, sunset sauce, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. It was juicy, fresh, and packed with flavor.
They don’t have fries at Paradise, but you can have a side of potato casserole which is like a cheesy potato au gratin. It was a different side than I’m used to, but it was really satisfying. I can see why a Paradise Burger is a standing order here for regulars.
The chicken sandwich has a big flavor too. The jerk chicken is one of the customer favorites after the burger. The chicken is marinated in jerk sauce, grilled, and topped with pepper jack cheese. It’s also served on that yummy jalapeño bun. That’ll be my choice the next time.
Bozo’s Seafood Market
2012 Ingalls Avenue // +1(228) 762-3322
Ask anyone in Pascagoula and around the area where to get the best Po’boy. You will undoubtedly get the answer – Bozo’s, Seafood Market. But there are the rules to follow. You must stand in line, place your order, pay, get your ticket, and wait.
You can eat at the long communal tables with condiments and napkins or head out to your next stop when your number is called. Either way, you won’t be disappointed when you unwrap the best Po’boy you ever tasted. Bozo’s has been selling the freshest seafood, shrimp, and crawfish for sixty years, so they know what they’re doing.
Sometimes it’s the locals that tell you the places that have stand-out food. Such was the case with Bozo’s. Even though there’s nothing fancy about Bozo’s, the line is out the door every day. I didn’t have to wait long to order because the system works. You just follow the rules, and you move through like clockwork.
I asked what the best Po’boy was besides shrimp, and to my surprise, the next favorite was roast beef. I ordered a half, and it came wrapped like a newborn swaddled in white butcher paper. My roast beef sandwich came fully dressed topped with a bit of brown gravy, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Truthfully it was messy, but wow, what a delicious sandwich.
The beef is made fresh every day and sliced thin. It was so flavorful and tender; I was in heaven. Folks around me chatted with their party, but I couldn’t even make small talk. I was obsessed with my Po’boy and focused on that.
I kept thinking I had missed out because the first sandwich was so good. The next day, I was still in the area, so I asked my friend to join me, and we made a beeline for Bozo’s. I am not ashamed to admit it because when you know, you know.
This time, we ordered the number one bestseller, the shrimp Po’boy and asked for a whole. Let me say that it was enormous. The bread was foot-long, and it was stuffed with sweet fried shrimp from Mississippi. We ordered it fully dressed with mayonnaise, lettuce, and slices of tomato and pickles. It was a sight to behold. And while we didn’t chow down on all the bread, we did finish every shrimp that they piled on the sandwich. It was so good.
I noticed that a lot of groups here order Po’boys and a pound of boiled crawfish to share. They will sit down at the communal tables and have a feast. Since this is a seafood market, you can get fresh seafood prepared to eat or take out. Oysters, shrimp, and crawfish are three of the most popular items.
A lot of folks here love a crawfish boil. I saw boils everywhere I went up and down Coastal Mississippi. At Bozo’s, it’s no different, and they have the know-how to do it right. You need a big pot to boil pounds of crawfish with enough water to cook them properly. Cook them too long, and they will be mushy, not enough, and they will be rubbery.
During crawfish season – the prime season is in the spring, boil crawfish for 2 minutes and then let them steam out of the water for 15 minutes, usually in an ice chest. After that, they will be perfect for peeling and eating.
The meat will be sweet, something of a cross between shrimp and crab. Every expert sucks on the head. I watched in awe as a group went through a pound pretty quickly. I asked for a lesson, and this is how it’s done: First, hold the crawfish on either side of the tail with your thumb and index finger. With a twisting motion, snap the head away from the tail.
As an option, but highly recommended, suck the “crawfish butter” from the crawfish head. Then, with your thumb, peel the shell away from the broadest piece of the tail and tug out the tail meat. I asked them what the head juice tastes like, and they said it has a salty, sweet flavor.
If you have traveled abroad to Asia and tried local street food, this place feels like that. I loved how casual and relaxed the atmosphere was. I also loved how good the food is. I give this local place five stars, don’t miss it.
3834 Market Street // + (228) 762- 2177
Edd’s opened in Pascagoula in 1953 as a Dairy Queen. It was owned by Ed McElroy at that time. He offered shakes, burgers, and soft-serve ice cream, and it soon became a local’s favorite for value and good food. Don Dean became the next owner, who renamed it Edd’s. At Edd’s, the staff filled orders without writing anything down and without using calculators. That became the draw.
Everyone was amazed by the waitstaff. Now Foster-Martin family enterprises own Edd’s. They want to preserve the past traditions in Pascagoula, Moss Point, and Wade. And, they want to ensure that the excellent service and the menu that made Edd’s famous – chili, cheeseburgers, real milkshakes, fries, and hot dogs endures. It’s nostalgia that puts a smile on everyone’s face.
I pulled up and was instantly transported to the ’50s. I loved the retro striped awning and the giant neon sign that reads Edd’s Drive-In with the big ice cream cone next to the words. I was surprised that a constant stream of customers kept pulling in and heading up to the window to order.
I was there for the real milkshakes because I hadn’t had one in a long time. As I ordered my favorite, a chocolate shake, I spied the equipment, and it was all updated. I don’t know why I thought it would be retro, but everything was modern in the kitchen.
The menu is the same, though. There are plenty of throwbacks to burgers and fries, hot dogs, chili, and chili toppings on all of the other listed items. My shake was thick and chocolatey. I sat outside leaning against my car and stirred it with my straw enjoying both the dessert and the place. I was glad it was still around to pay homage to the traditions of the past in Pascagoula.
Trina’s Sweet Treats And More
303 Delmas Avenue // +(601) 307-3839
Catrina Mitchell-Harris was never a baker, but when her mother became ill and later paralyzed, she knew she wanted to help her family somehow. Her mother would always bake on Sundays for her father, and that wasn’t possible anymore. Trina bravely took on the baking project and started attempting to bake.
Using her grandmother’s recipes, Trina began the tradition of treating her dad to those Sunday baked goods. Her parents lived in Moss Point, so she would travel from Pascagoula to her childhood home to spend time with them and bake.
Trina tried her darndest to make them taste like her mom’s cakes, often asking her to taste her cake and checking in with her to ask what was missing. At the time, she worked full-time for the Department of Human Services back in Pascagoula, so it was a weekend project. Once she finally got it right, her dad’s face lit up and said, “This is it!”
Once she got the baking down, she began bringing her cupcakes and baked goods to work. Her co-workers started to take notice and asked Trina if they could have her bake for them too. The orders started coming in so rapidly that she decided to open her own bakery, which she did.
Unfortunately, her mom passed away, but Trina’s Sweet Treats honors her baking every day. The shop is celebrating its 6th anniversary this year and is a family operation. “My sister, my sister-in-law, and even my dad helps out here. The most popular cake is anything red velvet, and Trina has upwards of 100 cupcake flavors.
She also creates cakes in a jar, elaborate wedding cakes, any type of cake a customer can dream up. Her most unusual was the Budweiser Bucket Cake, complete with candy ice she whipped up for a “Groom’s Cake.”
I tasted the red velvet cake in a jar when I visited a few months ago, and it was beyond yum. The cake jars are layered with moist cake and decadent creamy icing. The best part is you can seal the container back up to dig in later until you finish it for good. Thankfully, Trina will ship her delicious desserts anywhere in the United States.
Brady’s Steaks And Seafood
3801 Magnolia Street // +1(228) 205-3749
A sweeping staircase leads to the main restaurant on the second floor of this expansive waterfront property. Brady’s hits the nail on the head for first impressions. The main restaurant area is spacious yet intimate. It has a clean coastal feel that offers the perfect atmosphere for anything from family gatherings and lunch dates to after-work get-togethers and romantic dinners for two.
The wrap-around balcony area provides stunning views of the Pascagoula River and the surrounding marshland. If you stay long enough, you are sure to see local boaters and fishermen making the most of their beautiful natural surroundings.
This is the perfect spot to take in a Coastal Mississippi sunset while sipping on some delicious craft cocktails (I recommend the cucumber lime mojito). The ground floor below the Main Restaurant offers a large, covered area with an outdoor bar, perfect for al fresco events and live music concerts.
My friend and I sat down for dinner, cocktails, and the sunset. We took in the gorgeous view as this is the perfect spot for that. Brady’s is a local family restaurant that is known for its steaks, seafood, and oysters.
The fish is fresh, so I wanted to have as much of it as possible. That is why I ordered the most enormous platter they serve, the Mississippi Sound Platter. The plate includes the catch of the day, typically fried, several fried oysters, fried jumbo shrimp, and an enormous crab cake. The fish that day was redfish, and I love that blackened, so I asked for it prepared that way. The rest was prepared the usual way.
My friend ordered the filet mignon topped with homemade steak butter. We decided to split the feast so we could have a surf and turf of our own making. The premium tenderloin cut was grilled perfectly to medium-rare, and the fish and shellfish platter was excellent.
The fried shellfish was crispy, and the crab cake was packed with sweet crab. I am glad I got the redfish blackened because it was perfectly prepared that way. We ate our fill because the portions and sides are generous at Brady’s.
The service is also excellent as they made sure to prepare our dinner the way we liked it. I would highly recommend this restaurant for the food, the service, and the atmosphere.
Off The Hook Seafood & Cajun Grille
707 Krebs Avenue // +1 (228) 762-9004
This little Restaurant in downtown Pascagoula is a hidden gem. Walk too fast along Krebs Avenue, and you may very well miss it, but this is one of the best spots on the coast for fresh seafood and coastal charm. When you walk in, you feel like you have been transported to a fishing village’s lunchroom from decades past.
The walls are covered in coast-inspired murals with colorful fish, blue crabs, and one that spans the entire left side of the room depicting the Pascagoula River! The service is friendly and warm, exuding southern hospitality. If you are looking for fresh seafood that is not necessarily fried, this is the place to go.
Their menu offers a vast array of Cajun-creole-inspired specials. Several fresh catches (including snapper, grouper, and triggerfish) can be served grilled, blackened, or fried, accompanied by delicious house-made sides such as collard greens, potato salad, my favorite red beans, and rice.
Finish off your meal with something sweet, such as their house-made key lime pie or their signature “bread pudding” with rum sauce. One thing is sure, you won’t leave hungry.
I heard that you can’t leave Pascagoula without trying Off The Hook. They have been serving local seafood for over ten years and have a serious following. Everyone loves the signature dish here, which is Fried Trigger Orleans. I had to check it out.
Triggerfish are fried to golden perfection and placed on a bed of house-made rice pilaf. It is topped with Orleans sauce, Gulf shrimp, sweet peppers, and Cajun sausage. It also comes with a side of Creole green beans. I must admit, I’ve never tried Trigger Fish but was willing to have a taste. The meat is sweet and firm, and everything tastes greatly fried. The plate came brimming with a massive portion of fish topped with Creole sauce. It was delicious. The creamy sauce
2318 Ingalls Avenue //+ 1 (228) 205-2166
Ramsay Taylor grew up eating the best barbeque from his grandfather’s Restaurant. Grandpa Taylor made hickory-smoked meats, ribs, and homemade sausage since the 1940s in Columbia, Mississippi, along with homemade dry rub and sauce sold at the counter. It was the best around.
After the Restaurant closed in the 1980s, the only time anyone got to taste the sausage, rub, and sauce was at Christmas when Ramsay’s dad and grandpa would make it to give out as gifts. Ramsay wasn’t sure he wanted to recreate his grandpa’s business, but his friends had an open space in a large convenience store, and in 2002 he gave Tay’s Barbeque a shot.
Tay’s has been in business for 19 years and has three locations, in Pascagoula, Moss Point, and Madison, Mississippi. Ramsay Taylor makes everything in-house, along with his CIA-trained brother-in-law and business partner, Matthew Mayfield.
Mayfield brings his own additions to the menu, consisting of ribs, pulled pork, brisket, chicken, wings, sausage, and sides. The business also caters and will do anything from a party of ten to disaster relief which they know all too well in Coastal Mississippi.
I walked into the neighborhood restaurant that used to be an Italian restaurant before Hurricane Katrina. It’s a brick building with about forty seats and a very casual barbeque, which is fine because I’m here for it.
I really wanted to try everything, but I ordered the pulled pork sandwich. Considering the backstory, you know Tay’s knows barbeque. Millard Taylor started his Restaurant in 1940 and passed all he knew down to his grandson; Ramsay does almost everything the same way. Ramsay and Matthew dry rub and smoke the butts low and slow over a hickory fire. The result is tender meat that literally falls apart. You pick the sides, and the vast portion is doled out with sauce on the side.
The sauce is a secret recipe from Grandpa Taylor. I have eaten a lot of pulled pork sandwiches, and everyone does barbeque their own way. Tay’s is famous because they have their own family recipes for rub and sauce that really taste fantastic. They cook over hickory wood that imparts a terrific flavor, and they don’t rush the process. They also keep the prices reasonable.
My sandwich combo was around four dollars which is an excellent value. It’s hard to believe a time when Tay’s wasn’t so famous. They started a “Two for Tuesdays” offer that they still run today to get their name out there. They would offer a pulled pork sandwich or a smoked sausage dog and give a second one for free. Tuesday’s the restaurants are still packed for that deal. “The difference,” Ramsay says, “is that we’ll get calls from those same customers to cater a large party a few weeks later.” Their loyalty keeps them coming back.
At this interview, the Taylor family was preparing to get their barbeque pit fired up to prepare to feed thousands of meals for the electric company. A category 4 hurricane was forming in the Gulf of Mexico and was tracking to hit New Orleans. Oddly it was on schedule to hit around the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the worst hurricane to hit the coast sixteen years earlier.
Tay’s barbeque plans to feed 6,000 meals a day to help for the upcoming hurricane, Ida. The linemen have hot, energy-sustaining meals as they work tirelessly to restore power after the havoc that high winds and storms will take in Mississippi.
The restaurants continually work to feed hungry people both in good times and in bad. The establishments may not be fancy, but the food is excellent. It’s the family recipes passed down or the fresh takes on Cajun favorites that keep diners coming back again and again.
Jeanine Consoli is a freelance travel writer, photographer, and foodie based in Washington Crossing, PA. A retired elementary school teacher used her summers to feed her passion for travel and kept journals of all the destinations she explored. Today, Jeanine is working as a writer full-time. She loves uncovering the history and understanding the culture of each location, including the local flavors of each place. She has traveled extensively in the United States and Europe and is excited to keep adding to the list, finding special places that are off the beaten path both at home and abroad.