Welcome to Eat Jackson’s first ever Starkville Food Tour, a four-part series covering the best of one of Mississippi’s college towns…definitely worth the drive.
The details of how the Starkville Food Tour originated are a little fuzzy to me, but I do remember that it all started on Twitter (as many of our reviews do.). I think @WamJo tweeted at us asking about our favorite places to eat in @mscollegetown (which is Starkville), and several different restaurants there began chiming in. After a few minutes of food talk and direct messaging, the idea of the Starkville Food Tour was born.
I pulled into town in the afternoon, dropped my bags, then headed straight to Restaurant Tyler with its beautiful, charming location on Main Street in downtown Starkville. I arrived on the invitation of Ty Thames, owner of this restaurant and three others. He had promised me a behind the scenes peek into his restaurant world.
After a few server introductions, Chef Ty whisked me into Restaurant Tyler’s impressive kitchen. I saw how Restaurant Tyler cures and smokes its own bacon and pastrami. I learned that all Restaurant Tyler’s produce is Mississippi-grown by a guy they call “Farmer John.” Their catfish is all from the Delta, and most of their seafood is sourced from Mississippi Gulf Coast purveyors.
The bottom line is that when you eat at Restaurant Tyler, your food didn’t travel very far to get to your plate!
Zorba’s Greek Tavern
Restaurant Tyler shares their kitchen with Zorba’s Greek Tavern, Ty Thame’s Greek concept restaurant, located directly above Restaurant Tyler.
Zorba’s serves as a Greek eatery by day and a late night hangout by well, late night. Zorba’s serves as Restaurant Tyler’s alter ego – with dark, funky feel. However, the two restaurants share several menu items (and a shared daily blue plate lunch menu) leaving customers to choose the atmosphere they prefer.
After my kitchen tour, Ty suggested we eat dinner at another one of his places, Bin 612. I’ve eaten at “The Bin” a few times before, always going for the Bin 612 S’more – never for “real food.” (The Bin 612 S’more brings a unique twist on the traditional s’more we know and love.)
Ty and I took a seat at the bar, and he handed me a menu. I was in the mood for a really good pizza.
As it turns out, several years back Ty scoured Italy looking for the perfect pizza dough recipe. He brought a recipe back to Starkville that made my Bin 612 pizza full of heart, soul and Italian authenticity.
Bin 612 pizza meats include cured meat from Restaurant Tyler, so I decided to incorporate the best of both worlds with The Carne, recommended personally by Ty Thames himself.
Best decision all week. The Carne Pizza came topped with cheese, chicken, pepperoni, and smoked bacon on a tomato sauce base. I made a spectacle stuffing my face while Ty told me about his favorite menu items from Restaurant Tyler…making me a whole different kind of hungry!
I think Ty could tell I wanted to try some of this stuff, so he promised to show me Rock Bottom (the fourth of his restaurants). Then, he promised I would try Restaurant Tyler food.
I was excited.
After doing what damage I could at Bin 612, we walked up the street to Rock Bottom. First impression: this place is tiny.
Rock Bottom serves primarily as Ty Thame’s bar concept, but Rock Bottom also serves pizza by the slice from Bin 612, gyros from Zorba’s Greek Tavern, and meatball sliders from Restaurant Tyler.
As we were leaving, Ty pointed out his food truck, which he keeps parked right across the street from Bin 612. Thursday through Saturday, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., you can head here for Doughnut Cheeseburgers, Gyros, and Philly Cheese Steaks. Late night food at its finest!
My grand tour of Ty Thames’ restaurant world complete, I headed back to Restaurant Tyler with my stomach growling for the menu items I was about to try…
What did Ty recommend? How was my Restaurant Tyler experience? Stay tuned for Part II of our four part Starkville Food Tour series!
The Cotton District
612 University Dr
Starkville, MS 39759