Looking for a place to eat that everyone will enjoy? Go to Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint with locations in the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson, downtown Biloxi on the Mississippi Coast and coming soon to the Town of Livingston.
Memories are Made at Sal & Mookie’s
When our kids were much younger, we took them to the original Sal & Mookie’s in Jackson’s hip Fondren neighborhood. It’s a casual pizza joint (great for preschoolers) that’s about 12 notches above the cleanliness and food quality level I’d experienced in other favorite pizza joints during my college days – the perfect scenario for a young family where the parents wanted good food while accompanied by two barely potty trained preschool girls.
But soon, Sal & Mookie’s became more than a place to eat dinner.
From the big window with the “handle bars” that let the littles pull themselves up without help to the giant kitchen window where they watched chefs throw pizza dough (sometimes – if they were lucky – at the little faces in the window) to the “tickets” they could take to the Scoop Shop for ice cream, Sal & Mookie’s became a place where our family made memories.
Back in the day, our then tween could run up quite the bar tab on Sal’s Mocktails menu – an extensive list of non-alcoholic “cocktail” mixtures of sodas, syrups and fruit juices. I blame this early experience for his current day obsession with those new fangled Coca-Cola Freestyle machines popular today in fast casual chain restaurants. He experiments with flavors, finds a winner, then recommends it proudly to his friends.
The kids squealed with delight as they’d see if their arm was long enough to break the mozzarella strings from the handcut mozz sticks. Okay, so would their parents. It’s a game that never gets old.
I remember talking to one of the owners, Jeff Good, soon after our family discovered Sal & Mookie’s. He told me how they’d envisioned a place where families and friends could come and set the world aside and just talk and play. Making time for playfulness was at the center of his dream for Sal & Mookie’s, although I’m not sure he articulated it quite that way. Pair that with his partner Dan Blumenthal’s vision for extraordinary food on a “much more than pizza” menu and Sal’s quickly became “much more than a pizza joint.”
Making a Move to the Mississippi Coast
Life has a way of throwing curve balls, so no sooner did our family get comfortable making memories at Sal & Mookie’s in Fondren than we moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In our new place, we set out to find a new “family pizza joint.” And we found several we enjoyed – but none clicked with our growing crew like Sal & Mookie’s had. It was the end of an era for us – we thought.
But then, another curve ball. We heard that Bruce & Rebecca Lacey were opening the second Sal & Mookie’s on the Mississippi Coast – in downtown Biloxi. The excitement was palpable at our house, and the kids – several years older by that time – would ask to drive by the new construction to sightsee in anticipation of its opening.
We were all there the first weekend it opened, and it was great. The kids were so tall that they didn’t need to pull on the handlebars – or even stand on the step to look in the kitchen window – but they did it anyway. I’m sure people stared at those crazy big kids standing on the step – instinctively. I just laughed.
They also got their ice cream tickets and took them to the Scoop Shop counter to order their dessert – this time without needing a grown-up to hold their hand.
They made wiki stick creations and asked for pizza dough to play with like they were still toddlers. I thought, “Really?!?”
Sal & Mookie’s in Biloxi isn’t exactly the same as Fondren. It’s housed in a gorgeous new building up on stilts overlooking downtown Biloxi’s casino lights and the newly built MGM Park, home of the Biloxi Shuckers minor league baseball team. The menu even has some coast specialties all its own. In short, the Biloxi location has its own personality – a personality that’s grown on us over time. But the intent is the same: to provide a place where families and friends can hang out over extraordinary food – and have fun. Together.
Coming Soon to Livingston
Recently, the Good / Blumenthal team announced that a third Sal & Mookie’s will open at the Town of Livingston. They promise the same similarities – playfulness and food quality – and also hint that there will also be some new personality traits unique to this location, as has been the trend with the first two openings.
We can’t wait to take a family roadtrip to try it out.
Live a Little
These days, we live with up and coming teenagers. They’re blessed with many friends and with active, busy lives. But still, they still ask to go to Sal & Mookie’s, albeit with a car full of friends in tow. And of course, we’re more than happy to oblige. After all, they’re our memories, too.
Sal & Mookie’s is truly a place for all ages – birth to 99+. Sal’s is for families or singles (there’s a stellar adults-only bar area tucked away in each location – and Biloxi even has a private adults-only outdoor balcony). It’s for work lunches and for celebration parties and for those “just because you need to connect with your people” moments. Sal & Mookie’s is the place to take a deep breath, chow down on some good food and connect. And even better, laugh. And play. And live a little.
What to Order
The best memories are made over food, so don’t miss the chef-created food options living on the “more than pizza” menu at Sal & Mookie’s.
For Starters, we recommend: The Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, made with Grande whole milk mozzarella and served with house made marinara sauce. Do not skip playing the “who can make the longest cheese string” game. Go ahead, you know you want to.
For Pizza, we recommend: For years, our standbys were the beefy Times Square (with half jalapeño free for the littles) and the Central Park with its white sauce and grilled chicken. Lately, with more people with bigger appetites has led us to add the loaded Riker’s Island to our routine. (P.S. GF-ers rejoice! All Sal & Mookie’s locations offer a delicious, freshly baked gluten-sensitive pizza crust!)
For Salad, we recommend: The Chopped Salad with house made Green Goddess dressing, if for no other reason than the dressing. Okay, and the premium Genoa salami and fresh greens and well, it’s just one heck of a no-frills great salad.
For one of the best burgers in town, we recommend: The Bobby Flay. It’s gotten rave reviews for years with its house made chipotle barbecue sauce, smoked gouda and honey pepper bacon. But truth be told, all of the burgers are good and should not be overlooked just because the restaurant has “pizza” in the name. This place makes great burgers and sandwiches, hands down.
For the pasta lover, we recommend: Chicken Parmesan. This portion of the menu is where the kitchen really struts its stuff with fresh ingredients and quality preparations from the traditional Spaghetti and Meatballs to the Ziti a la Vodka, you can’t you wrong with an entrée from the standard offerings – or the daily chef’s specials.
For the grown-ups, we recommend: The craft cocktail and craft beer list is beyond extensive, however, ask to try a seasonal brew from a brewery located within a few miles of the location or relax over a Bada Bing, a beachy vodka twist on a margarita.
For the kids, we recommend: A Sal’s Strawberry Fizz from the Mocktail menu.
For dessert, we recommend: A trip to the ice cream bar. Don’t skip it. Calories aside, it’ll lower your blood pressure to live a little by ogling at the flavors, dreaming of a handmade malt and ordering whatever ice cream creation floats your boat so to speak. For a real memory, order a Grand Central Station sundae to share with your table!