Sometimes the need for comfort food can be overwhelming. Sushi and a healthy salad just won’t get it, and all you can think about is food that is hearty, sustaining and delicious, too. Not too many places come to mind when a comfort food attack pounces, but I recently found one that will be my go-to place from now on.
Broome’s is an Ocean Springs institution and served as the local grocery store until three years ago. Catering was its gig for a while, but two years ago it opened as a buffet. Yes, I know, they call it a deli, but it fits my description of a buffet, so I am sticking with it.
The difference in Broome’s and other buffets is that Broome’s sticks with a Southern theme — think of food that you might find in a classic Deep South dinner and you will know exactly what I am talking about.
The menu changes daily, but there are a few things that you can count on seeing. There are at least 10 vegetable options, and standards like mac and cheese and mashed potatoes are almost always presented. Fried and baked chicken and fried fish are daily specials as well.
But have I got something to tell you about! How I missed this one, I’ll never know, but at the top of my comfort food list, now, after my first visit to Broome’s, is the John Wayne Casserole. I am a food writer and serious foodie and how I never heard of this amazing casserole before just about defeats me. The basics are ground beef, sour cream, cheese, cornbread, Rotel tomatoes and jalapenos, Bisquick and cornbread. I am telling you, this was delicious and I’d come back just for a plate full of this casserole. It is gooey, cheesy — sharp with the jalapenos and Rotel — and just about as deeply satisfying as only a Southern casserole can be. Thursday is the day you can be sure to find the John Wayne on the buffet.
There are daily specials, too, like red beans and rice on Monday (the old-time wash day special). Tuesday you will find meatloaf, Wednesday is pot roast, Thursday liver and onions, and Friday is seafood. The buffet is $11 per person and take-out (one meat, three sides, salad, dessert and drink) is $9.75.
Everything that I tried was homemade, and although I didn’t have room for dessert, I heard people raving about the banana pudding. What tempted me to visit Broome’s was my friend, Tony Lawrance’s, over-the-top report on his recent lunch there, which included falling-apart roast and the banana pudding.
Broome’s seats a large crowd, but lunch time can still be crowded, so get there early and get there very, very hungry.
Broome’s Catering and Deli
Where: 1801 Government St., Ocean Springs
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday