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Bay St. Louis, MS — Folks in Bay St. Louis like to say that the Mockingbird Cafe is the living room of Bay St. Louis. This coffee shop/restaurant/art gallery is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. It is located in the heart of Bay St. Louis and just blocks from the beach. It is amazing how much the fine folks at the Mockingbird do with the space they have. There is plenty of seating, loads of local art on the walls, a full-service coffee bar and a great lounge area where folks can enjoy a great craft cocktail or beer.

What brought Devour Power to the Mockingbird was obviously the food. And the grub at this place is no slouch. Chef Julie Ragusa sat down and showed off some of the Mockingbird’s best offerings. We were lucky enough to try three separate dishes that represent the range of things offered at the restaurant that serves up great breakfast, lunch and brunch offerings.

The first dish we tried was the Chicken and Waffles. Mockingbird takes chicken brined in a mixture of sea salt and tea and fries it up golden brown and serves it up on a fluffy buttermilk waffle. The combination of fluffy and crunchy is awesome. That contrast like the savory vs. sweet contrast in this dish is what really makes it work. The real star of this dish is the house-made maple butter that is generously served on top of the dish. Wow! I was only half-joking when I suggested that Julie serve this on the side of every dish on the Mockingbirfd’s menu. That stuff is amazing!

We also tried Mockingbird’s grits and pulled pork. This dish is a heaping helping of great hearty southern flavors. A handsome portion of pulled-pork shoulder is served over a heaping helping of velvety grits. It is then topped with Mockingbird’s house-made BBQ sauce (which is infused with espresso) a poached egg and green onion. This dish is not for the dainty appetite. It is a substantial portion that will satisfy even the hungriest customer.

We also had the good fortune to try their veggie burger. Yes, a veggie burger. The crispy fried patty is tender and flavorful on the inside. It is topped with melted cheese lettuce and a great, great sauce. The bun is a jalapeno roll that also kicks up the sandwiches flavor. As a proud carnivore, I can honestly say that I would have this sandwich again. If only they had served some of that maple butter with it,