I grew up in South Jackson, leaving town for a while to go to college. I returned for a brief time to work at a local TV station, then left again to work elsewhere. That was 12 years ago.  Now, I’m back as the new marketing coordinator for Millsaps College. And this time, I’m bringing a wife and two kids. We’re a family with hefty appetites and a love for good food. So it didn’t take long before we discovered this area of town: Fondren. I couldn’t wait to enjoy a bit of what is considered some of the best food Jackson has to offer.  Now, I’m not a pretentious eater, a “taster,” or a food critic; I’m just a guy who likes to eat.

First stop, a place I had known for some time: Que Sera Sera. I knew this would be a slam dunk for my first Fondren dining experience. Of course, I was right. An on-the-money shrimp poboy, with some sweet tea that would make my Mamaw proud. The bread was fantastic, and the sauce was amazing. Fondren was batting 1,000. For my next venture, my wife and I decided to try out a place we read about in the Millsaps student paper: Babalu Tacos & Tapas. Just walking into this fine establishment begins your dining experience with a huge projector playing “I Love Lucy” on a wall. We went for the fish tacos and short ribs. Another Fondren success. The idea of a tapas restaurant is to share with the people you’re with, but neither of us wanted to share anything. We wanted it all to ourselves. One place that I seem to find myself on close to a weekly basis is Sal and Mookie’s. Whether I’m taking the whole family for a giant New York-style pizza and ice cream dinner, or going with co-workers for a “working lunch,” this place has us covered.

More amazing meals came in the weeks following: tasty blue plate lunch at Walker’s while enjoying the weather on their historic patio, delicious breakfast at Mimi’s that should be a registered national treasure, Mediterranean fare at Aladdin’s to rival any place, and soup at Broad Street so good you forget to leave room for dessert. Lunch at Basil’s that makes you want to return for dinner…that same night. Date night at Nick’s for white tablecloth food that has no other equal in Jackson, and of course, I wash down just about every Fondren eating experience with possibly my favorite option: a large milkshake from Brent’s Drugs.

I’ve been back in Jackson for several months now, and my affection for the Fondren district’s food options and amazing people is firmly cemented. This area is without question the best dining area in Jackson and surrounding areas. I can’t believe I’ve just scratched the surface of what’s available. I’ll have to make up for the years of lost time. Look out Fondren: Marc’s coming and he likes to eat!

Learn more about all the great dining options in Fondren in The Guideâ„¢

Marc Rolph is marketing coordinator for Millsaps. Add him on twitter (@marcusrolph)
and foursquare where he chronicles most of his dining ventures.