Ask Rick Williams what's good at his restaurant, and his Southern drawl will smack of a flippant bravado. "Everything here's good. If I put something on the menu and it doesn't work, then it's off!" You're better off not asking the question at all. Instead, just decide if you're a barbecue buff, seafood sucker or Cajun connoisseur. At Mississippi Rick's, you’ve got options.
Williams admits he opened the King Drive establishment in 1993 "to make some money." But there were some altruistic intentions there as well. Having noticed many African-Americans in Chicago had roots in Mississippi, he wanted to celebrate the flavor of the state. "You can call yourself a Bostonian Blue or an Arkansas Red, but saying you were from Mississippi was taboo. I wanted to change that."
Can lightly seasoned fried-fish dinners served with fries and slaw change people's minds? Who knows, but it does bring quite the crowd to this take-out style restaurant. Nestled between Foot Locker and Milwaukee Furniture at the Lake Meadows shopping center, the elusive spot requires you to rely on the strong scent of homemade BBQ and fried chicken to find it.
Eight dollars will get you a nice portion of rib tips, jerk chicken or pork chops. Five dollars will afford you some crab cakes or a catfish sandwich. Twenty-five cents will get the kids a gum ball from the six-and-a-half-foot tall gum ball machine displayed near the back of the restaurant. All in all, it's money well spent.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Nola Akiwowo