I recently posted on my Instagram a really AWESOME foodie experience at Johnny T’s Bistro and Blues. Okay, so for several months now, I’ve been hearing about how good the food was at this new restaurant in the very heart of the Historic Farish Street District. This place has got decadent food AND is promoting the economic revival of a SUPER historic area of the Mississippi African American community? I was instantly sold, and Johnny T’s was placed on my mental bucket list.
THE 411 ON FARISH STREET
Now, let me give you some quick background info. on this spot in the Historic Farish Street District. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this area, Farish Street was an extremely popular area in downtown Jackson that served as one of the few places that welcomed African Americans. Farish Street was the home of the Mississippi Black business community’s economic independence. Since its birth during the U.S. Reconstruction, minorities could go to Farish Street to shop, dine, and play without fear of White Supremacist retaliation. For the last few decades or so, Farish Street has been almost completely abandoned as Mississippi loosened its grips on racial discrimination ,and African Americans started exploring once restricted communities and business districts.
MY JOHNNY T EXPERIENCE
Y’ALL , this past weekend, I had the perfect excuse to finally make time to try this food. It was SOOO GOOD! I’ve been told that I am a bit of a harsh food critic. I really can’t help it though. I’m a Total Foodie that appreciates the art of dining.
Some of my favorite Ticos from ICLC in Costa Rica came in town to visit my alma mater, JSU, and I wanted to invite them to dine out to reconnect. BTW, I’ve been sharing some of my Costa Rican travel diary entries on the blog. See the latest entry here. Reconnecting with the ICLC administrators reminded of why my Summer in Costa Rica was so special. It was because of the people. Really, the people make or break any travel experience, in general. I’m so glad that the relationships that I’ve built have lasted through these past few years. I totally got emotional when they presented me with a small gift from Costa Rica too.
The restaurant just screamed the very best of Black culture in the heart of a now almost forgotten road. There was artwork all around and inside the building. Lining the brick walls were several photos of Black entertainment legends like Lena Horne darkening the windows. While we didn’t visit the 540 Ultra Lounge, we did get to catch up with one another in Spanglish over great food with classic R&B hits and Blues throwbacks as our official ambiance playlist.
Okay, back to the food! We ordered a few h’orderves to share because it was so late in the evening to eat too heavy. We ordered deep fried salmon croquette balls served with a super rich honey butter sauce, crab cakes, and creamy shrimp/ spinach crostini bites. Ooh, QUE RICO!
If I had to choose, I’d say that my favorite appetizer was (drum roll) the “shrimp toast”. There was so much flavor packed into those tiny pieces of toast and with that lobster cream sauce. It was delicious! In 2nd place, I’d definitely put the salmon croquettes. The croquettes reminded me of those childhood visits to my grandmas’ houses while that honey butter sauce reminded me of why I’m still a food lover.
I totally love seeing my micro City of Jackson through the eyes of foreigners. Through their lenses, I’m starting to rediscover my hometown for its beautiful characteristics, which I often take for granted. If you haven’t dined at Johnny T’s Bistro and Blues yet, put it on your to-do list STAT! If you have, let me know what was your favorite dish below.