Southern Miss

Go for baseball, but explore (and more importantly, brunch) in Mississippi’s Hub City

The Aubrey K. Lucas Administration Building at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
The Aubrey K. Lucas Administration Building at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. Sun Herald File

It will be hard to find a seat at Pete Taylor Park over the weekend, as the Southern Miss baseball team is hosting an NCAA regional for the first time since 2003 and already has sold out the tournament.

The Golden Eagles, along with Mississippi State University, the University of South Alabama and the University of Illinois at Chicago, will play in the tournament, and that means thousands of people will be spending the weekend in Hattiesburg.

Hattiesburg, known as the Hub City, is about 90 minutes away from several major cities in the South — Gulfport, New Orleans, Mobile, Jackson and Meridian.

Sure, it’s a quick trip to Bourbon Street or to the Mississippi Coast (and we hope you come visit us) but there’s plenty to see, do and eat in Hattiesburg.

Parking

Parking will be available in several spots on USM’s campus for the baseball tournament. USM’s campus police and parking management will be on hand to help visitors.

USM provides a map of open parking on campus and across from campus. There is also free off-campus parking with a shuttle service at the Lake Terrace Convention Center.

Dining

Enjoy your hotel amenities but don’t order room service. Hop in your car or grab a ride from Uber or Lyft and try out these spots for pre-game or post-game grub.

Breakfast: SouthBound Bagel & Coffee Shop

The coffee is amazing, the building is super quaint, and all of the tables and chairs have their own unique charm. They have a window full of local news to read while you eat a delicious bagel or sandwich made on bread baked before sun rises.

Their bagels are divine and their pancakes are out of this world. Plus, you can walk off the carbs in Historic Downtown Hattiesburg.

Lunch: The Depot Coffeehouse & Bistro

The Depot is a favorite spot for locals and for journalists like myself and Sun Herald reporter Anita Lee who need a pick-me-up after sitting in federal court for hours while doing journalism things.

Located in the Bakery Building, the menu is eclectic and offers a variety of sandwiches, salads and soups.

The club sandwich is worth the $11 price tag, and you have to get the tomato soup on the side.

Their Cobb salad is also delicious if you’re looking for lighter fare.

Dinner: Crescent City Grill

Restauranteur Robert St. John’s casual dining spot offers a menu that is classic New Orleans cuisine, and it’s a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

The crabmeat wontons are must-have for an appetizer, and the mojo chicken salad is one of the best restaurant salads I’ve ever had. The shrimp and grits and corn and crab bisque are also super popular.

The cool thing about Crescent City is that it’s just one of three restaurants located in one building. For a fine dining experience, Purple Parrot Cafe is also on property. Go to Branch for date night and grab a signature cocktail and small plate. The Mahogany Bar has a fabulous patio and is open until 2 a.m.

Sunday brunch: Cotton Blues

Everything is local and made in Mississippi. And it’s a dining experience you’ll never forget.

I would try to recommend just one brunch item, but they’re all just so amazing it’s hard to pick. See the menu for yourself.

Sunday brunch (and stay awhile): T-Bones Records & Cafe

T-Bones has a cult following among locals. Aside from it being one of the only full-fledged record stores left in South Mississippi, their coffee is great and their jazz brunch is packed and super affordable.

Treat yo’self. Get the biscuits and gravy casserole with a side of honey ham.

Out on the town

Where to go: The Thirsty Hippo

For hipsters and those who love great, local music, The Hippo is the place to be. It’s located in downtown Hattiesburg. Check out their Facebook page to see what’s going on over the weekend.

Nightcap: Keg and Barrel

John Neal’s pub turned restaurant turned meeting place turned favorite among Hattiesburgers has tons of draft beer, great service and a late-night menu that will cure any hangover. The Greek duo dip and Fatty McFat sandwich are personal favorites, but their pizza is great, too. Many go for John Neal’s famous chicken and waffles.

There’s plenty of other things to do in Hattiesburg. Visit Hattiesburg can also help you find your way in the Hub City.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @JustinMitchell

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