The term “blue plate” originated during the Great Depression to refer to a plate of food that was divided into different sections and very cheap because these plates seemed to only come in the color blue. As time went on, this term became popular to describe a low-priced special of the day that changed throughout the workweek. Growing up in the South means I am quite familiar with blue plates and have eaten quite a few in my day. They usually include Southern favorites such as some type of fried meat and veggies, but they can be anything and everything the creator wants them to be. During this PORTICO blue plate tour, I’ll be taking one for the team and visiting some of Jackson’s favorite restaurants to give you the breakdown on their blue plate specials.
Hal and Mal’s
200 Commerce Street
Tuesday’s Blue Plate: Two fried chicken tenders, turnip greens, lima beans, macaroni and cornbread
Hal and Mal’s is a classic restaurant in Jackson and their blue plate reflects that. THIS is what I think of when I think of a blue plate. The fried chicken was skinless, moist and seasoned to perfection. The turnip greens were cooked with bacon fat and simmered to the perfect texture. They could have stood alone, but of course I added pepper sauce – what Southerner wouldn’t? Rounding out the meal were lima beans, a simple homemade mac and cheese and last, but never least, the cornbread, which by Southern tradition wasn’t sweet but savory and cake-y and perfect to dip in the turnip greens and pepper sauce. This traditional Southern meal is sure to satisfy any blue plate cravings.
1200 North State Street
Wednesday’s Blue Plate: Chicken enchiladas with house Italian salad
This isn’t your grandma’s blue plate, but hear me out. If you’re looking to spice up your lunch life, this won’t disappoint. I was skeptical at first, too, but after the first bite of their enchiladas I knew that this was a blue plate that could easily hold its own. At first bite you experience a crunchy-yet-soft tortilla only then to taste the shredded chicken and multiple cheeses inside. Let me tell you, these enchiladas are maybe the best I’ve ever had. The flavor and texture mix perfectly. I was told you should get there early because they usually sell out. Yes, they’re that good. They’re accompanied by a simple house Italian salad, and that’s all you really need to complete this delicious meal.