The Mississippi Delta is a long swath of fertile land that borders each side of the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tenn., to Vicksburg, Miss. It is ideal for cotton farming, which is the one of the two important cash crops of the region — the other is the tax-revenue-producing casinos of the region. Besides gambling, extraordinary food is another important reason for visiting casinos from Lula to Tunica in the northern part of the state.

The area is noted for some of the earliest blues music and its distinctive Southern food. In Mississippi, there is certainly more to food that just eating. Here in addition to fine dining, “Southern cooking” is one of the hottest trends in the culinary realm. Food lovers from everywhere trek to the state following their appetites like a compass. A good place to start is Tunica, near Memphis, with its cluster of nine casinos and dozens of great restaurants.

The gamut for dining in Tunica runs from excellent five-star restaurants to sumptuous buffets laden with all sorts of ethnic foods and many Southern staples like “pond to plate” fried catfish that is raised in the state, hush puppies, fried chicken, hoe cakes, crunchy cornbread biscuits, cheese grits and, of course, collard greens.

There is an incredible diversity in a concentrated area, and the problem you will face is not the quality or the availability of great dining, but where to start.

How about going with the obvious, especially if you come from north of the Mason-Dixon Line and have been long deprived of good ol’ Southern cooking. Then you might want to go where there is Southern comfort food with a new look. That means Magnolia’s Delta Grille in Horseshoe Casino where a young creative Chef de Cuisine, James Gentry, has put his mark on home-cooked Southern food, recreating local flavors that gave the Delta region much of its reputation, and fusing it with a modern twist.

Gentry has taken the best Southern recipes of the past and combined them with a new taste and a new look, and diners are delightfully surprised when they view the menu. It is a one-of-kind dining experience, and the food is best eaten warm, not by savoring it on these pages.

Across from Horseshoe, Gold Strike Casino boasts 31 stories and more than 1,100 rooms housing hundreds of hungry visitors. The Landmark Tower, the highest building in the state of Mississippi, required a landmark restaurant, and here the dining is sublime. Chicago Steakhouse is a Tunica jewel with its mouth-watering steaks and fresh seafood. Other top-of-the-line dining rooms in Tunica include ’37 at Harrah’s, Jack Binion’s at Horseshoe, Twain’s at Sam’s Town and Fairbanks at Hollywood Casino.

If you can’t score a comp or are on a tight budget, then the buffets are the place to eat a lot for less. Southern food comes on with a vengeance at the Paula Deen Buffet at Harrah’s. The TV food-queen concocted a lineup of Southern delights that takes several visits before you can sample everything. It is not a dining facility for dieters unless they want to take one last sinful binge before heading back to Peoria.

But nationally known restaurants and comfort-food-laden buffets are not the only thing on the pleasure list when visiting the Delta. Roots run deep here, and history and culture have combined to create a unique landscape in the country. More than a region on a map, the Delta is a land unto itself with back-street juke joints, the Blues Highway, historic plantations and maybe even a dinner cruise on the Tunica Queen on the mighty Mississippi.

Fine Dining

Jack Binion’s Steakhouse
Horseshoe Casino & Hotel Tunica • 1-800-303-SHOE (7463) • www.horseshoetunica.com
Price Range: $$

Jack Binion’s Steakhouse is conveniently located just off the main casino floor and offers a luxurious interior with an extensive wine list. Serving the finest USDA prime Mid-Western beef and fresh seafood, rest assured you will find what you want on the menu that covers everything from appetizers to desserts. As the proud recipient of Southern Gaming’s Best Tunica Casino Restaurant, the Dirona Award and Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, Jack Binion’s has earned its stripes!

Chicago Steakhouse
Gold Strike Casino Resort • 1-888-24K-STAY • www.goldstrikemississippi.com
Price Range: $$$

Experience the finest restaurant the Mid-South has to offer at the Wine Spectator Award-winning Chicago Steak House. Enjoy a traditional steak house with a contemporary twist, from prime steaks to jet-fresh seafood. The relaxed and refined setting is the perfect getaway from the casino, as it’s located just steps from the tables and slots.

’37 Fine Dining
Harrah’s Casino Tunica • 1-800-946-4946 • www.harrahstunica.com
Price Range: $$

Named for the year Bill Harrah opened his first bingo parlor in Reno, Nev., ’37’s sleek finishes, welcoming bar and overindulgent food and wine selection reflect the customer appreciation and service attitude that Harrah instituted many years ago. Not your typical steak on a plate venue, the restaurant offers fresh seafood and premium beef, pork, chicken and lamb prepared traditionally and, many times, fused meaningfully with ingredients to surprise the most discerning of palates. ’37 is located on the first floor.

The Steakhouse by Sheraton
Sheraton Casino & Hotel • www.sheratontunica.com
Price Range: $$

Whatever your flavor, you’ll find the Steakhouse by Sheraton to be an inviting experience. The tantalizing menu features the best cuts of the finest, thickest, juiciest steaks seasoned to a sinfully delicious taste that’ll make you want to savor every second of your meal. Plus, feast on Southern seafood favorites, sample the decadent desserts and so much more. So if you’re in the mood for a memorable and delightful dining experience, try the new Steakhouse by Sheraton.

Fairbanks Steakhouse
Hollywood Casino Tunica • 1-800-871-0711 • www.hollywoodcasinotunica.com
Price Range: $$$

Welcome to the golden era of fine dining. Fairbanks Steakhouse is a critically acclaimed dining experience that offers unforgettable cuisine, fine wine and exemplary service. Enjoy “The Opening Act” at Fairbanks Steakhouse, a complete meal — Sunday through Thursday from 4:30-7 p.m. for only $29.95 per person!

Twain’s Fine Dining
Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall • 1-800-456-0711
Price Range: $$

Twain’s offers a variety of seafood, chicken and other great selections, including an extensive wine list.


Paula Deen Buffet
Harrah’s Casino Tunica • 1-800-946-4946www.harrahstunica.com
Be Food Network star Paula Deen’s guest as you enter the sprawling and elegant dining venue modeled after Paula’s home in Savannah, Ga. Chock-full of Paula’s best recipes, she promises you will not leave here hungry. Paula has been quoted as saying, “Bring your stretchy pants, y’all,” to this down-home eating experience. Diners may choose from different themed food stations including: Granny Paul’s Garden, Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, Hoe Cake and Biscuit Station, Lady and Son’s, Captain Michael’s Smokehouse, and Little Jack’s Corner. Patrons dine in Paula’s parlor, her pantry, the famous birdcage room, the porch, the mud room, and the morning room. After dining, browse through the Paula Deen retail shop to purchase all things Paula Deen.

Village Square Buffet
Horseshoe Casino & Hotel Tunica • 1-800-303-SHOE (7463)www.horseshoetunica.com
The Village Square Buffet is an all-you-can-imagine buffet that will take you around the globe. The food destinations include China Town, Home Cookin’, Hickory Grill, Rio Grill and Little Italy. Finish your meal by indulging in a decadent array of desserts from the Sweet Temptations dessert bar. Don’t miss Friday nights with all-you-can-eat seafood, including crab legs and lobster tails. So come and experience the all-you-can-imagine buffet. Only at Horseshoe!

Courtyard Buffet
Gold Strike Casino Resort • 1-888-24K-STAYwww.goldstrikemississippi.com
Succulent meats, made-to-order omelets, and endless salad and seafood options abound-be adventurous, and don’t be shy! Of course, there are plenty of home-style favorites for the traditionalists! Take your time, enjoy, and come back for more! Don’t miss the Friday and Saturday Night Steak & Lobster Buffet or Saturday and Sunday Champagne Brunch as they are sure to please!

The Great Buffet featuring Corky’s BBQ
Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall • 1-800-456-0711
The Great Buffet offers an all-you-can-eat array of hearty American classics, including Memphis’ legendary Corky’s BBQ, to Italian and Asian specialties. A must for hearty appetites, the buffet also features fresh Southern-style desserts and a chocolate fountain. Plus guests get FREE beer and wine with every meal.

Casual Classics

Smokey Joe’s: Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall
The Atrium Café: Gold Strike Casino


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