Midway from Memphis to New Orleans, just off the Natchez Trace Parkway, you’ll discover a destination for dining well (and responsibly.) It is where fine dining, fine art and upscale boutiques meet bike trails, boating and more. Ridgeland is a stylish city with an undeniable vitality and energy that makes it hard to sit still, hence earning the destination the title of “Healthiest Hometown of Mississippi.” Ridgeland lives up to that title in more ways than one these days by strictly adhering to the health guidelines set forth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, the safety of visitors and locals alike is a top priority, so without worry, you can explore the surprising array of activities and attractions in this delightful town just north of the state capitol of Jackson.
With more than 150 restaurants in Ridgeland, it’s a foodie’s haven along the sparkling shores of the 33,000-acre Barnett Reservoir. “There are probably more locally owned restaurants in Ridgeland than anywhere else in the state,” says Chef Derek Emerson, a James Beard Award semi-finalist and owner of two popular restaurants in Ridgeland, CAET Seafood and Oysterette and Local 463 Urban Kitchen. Both restaurants are located in Renaissance at Colony Park, a destination lifestyle shopping center with elaborate water fountains and a beautiful open-air European design theme. When not in the kitchen you can find Emerson cycling the Natchez Trace Parkway or Ridgeland’s miles of Multi-Use Trails.
Being just a few hour’s drive from the Gulf Coast, you’ll find fresh seafood on many restaurant menus; however, Ridgeland is fast becoming the “Steakhouse Capital of Mississippi.” The city has not only the most steakhouses of any city in the state, but also the best, as the raves of national food critics testify. CNN, Business Insider and Men’s Journal have all branded Ridgeland steaks the best in the state and even the nation. Doe’s Eat Place has been named by the James Beard Foundation as one of “America’s Classics,” and Men’s Journal has crowned Doe’s porterhouse steak “the best thing to eat in America.” Critics at national organizations like MSN and Business Insider have also heaped high praise on the steaks at high-style Ely’s Restaurant and Bar. At Koestler Prime you can even take home a bottle of Koestler’s seasoning for your own steak creations. All in all, there are six locally owned steakhouses from which to choose and all are superb choices.
Ridgeland’s restaurants aren’t all about red meat, the city was recognized by Niche.com as one of the healthiest places to live in the state. The city’s mayor Gene McGee, a vegan and avid cyclist, encourages Ridgeland restaurants to offer healthy options.
Local restaurants utilize fresh produce from two nearby growers in the county, Two Dog Farms and Salad Days Produce. Even carbs are as healthy as can be in Ridgeland; Gil’s Bread bakes handmade artisan breads for many of Ridgeland’s local restaurants. You’ll want to try Crossroad’s Organic Café, Mama Nature’s Juice Bar, along with The Med Fish & Grill that is located in the newly renovated Northpark Mall. The “New Northpark” recently underwent a multi-million-dollar upgrade and boasts next generation technology and unmatched Southern charm for a perfect shopping experience for the entire family.
The mild climate makes anytime of the year a great time to visit Ridgeland; however, fall welcomes warm colors, cooler temps and the Renaissance Euro Fest, a classic European auto and motorcycle show.
Over the past 11 years, this event has drawn thousands to the Renaissance at Colony Park to gaze at more than 150 pristine vehicles from luxury brands such as Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Land Rover and Porsche, to name a few. Spectators can stroll the grounds to inspect classic entries up close or even submit their own prized possession—25 years or older—with no entry fee for participation.
Make plans to #VisitRidgelandResponsibly and safely attend this outdoor event Saturday, October 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.