Restaurant News & Reviews

This classic diner in downtown Gulfport is as Southern as plate lunches and fried chicken

Pretty tasty chicken, bacon melt, at just $6.25.
Pretty tasty chicken, bacon melt, at just $6.25. Special to the Sun Herald

The food culture on the Coast seems to be constantly expanding. It’s about as diverse a market as any town in the South could brag about.

Want Korean and Southern fusion? Not a problem. What about Latin/Asian? Done deal.

But what if you are in the mood for simplicity, nothing fancy, maybe just something from a good old school Southern diner? Again, you are in luck, the Palace Grill in Gulfport is waiting for you.

Walk in the door and you know exactly where you are. Red checkered tablecloths, a smiling hostess exuding Southern charm and hospitality, and a table of regulars that you can bet sits at the same table every day. Been in a place like this before, haven’t you?

The Palace Grill is about as comfortable a restaurant setting as you will find. When you pick up the menu (well worn, of course), you’ll find the same sense of comfort, all the regulars are there. Simple food, prepared as it has been for generations in the South. The bread is white, and a judicious number of cans are opened in the kitchen, but, what the heck, it is the same way my mom cooked all those years ago. I told you it was old school.

Ask the waitress what she suggests, and I’ll bet she steers you toward the daily special. On the day of my visit that was fried chicken, country fried steak, grilled or fried pork chop, three sides, coffee, bread and dessert, all for just $9. Shazam. If that is not a broadside of old standards, I don’t know what is.

The last item on the hand-written menu was a grilled chicken, bacon melt, with Texas toast, fully dressed, of course, for the whopping sum of $6.25. I went all out and ordered it and a small order of fries ($2.25), cheese (75 cents), and chili (another 75 cents) and ended up with far more food than I could finish.

There is also a small, but adequate selection of soups, sandwiches, plate lunches and burgers on the menu. My partner in this adventure was Leslie Fenton, and she went for the mushroom Swiss burger ($4.20) and while she did share my loaded fries, she found absolutely nothing to complain about.

Please do not get me wrong, I am not trying to be cute or condescending, the Palace Grill gets high marks in its category of local diner.

I get asked all the time what my favorite place to eat is, and I always respond by asking what category. It would be silly to compare fine dining with a taco place, or a burger joint with a tapas bar. The Palace Grill has been getting it right for many years, and generations of businessmen have stopped here for lunch on a regular basis. Want good food, without all the frills, that is served with a smile and is about as affordable as it can get, then the Palace Grill is right for you.

The Palace Grill

Where: 1425 25th Ave., Gulfport

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday

Phone: 228-868-3870