smith. in Corinth, Mississippi: Lowercase s, Uppercase Cuisine

It’s odd to see the name of a restaurant begin with a lowercase letter and end with a period, but the 1869 building in which smith. is housed was a former printery, so the title, menu, and associated pieces are made to look as if they were typed on an [amazon_textlink asin=’B07GDD3VFV’ text=’old Underwood typewriter’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a8ef080a-f664-11e8-a146-236e67cdfd16′]. The dishes served inside, however, epitomize fine, yet casual dining in the South.

Location: 603 North Fillmore Street, Corinth, [amazon_textlink asin=’1493012819′ text=’Mississippi’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c4de5e01-f664-11e8-8eba-2b030123856c’]

Menu: The menu at smith. changes about every six weeks to reflect the whims of the chef, but diners will consistently find [amazon_textlink asin=’0848756657′ text=’Southern fare’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e8d6e5a0-f664-11e8-9a97-8bc7d490b097′] with occasional [amazon_textlink asin=’0307395812′ text=’Cajun twists’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f8a31633-f664-11e8-a50d-8b9ae593611a’].

Both the guacamole and cheese sticks are homemade daily from scratch, and the Trashed Wings are like none you’ve ever tasted. They are battered and fried twice giving them extra crunch. The menu features six different salads with the Classic Cobb Salad being the top seller. Be sure to note that the Black and Blue Salad featuring blackened flank steak is easily a full, satisfying meal.

Eight sandwiches appear on the menu with the Classic Burger getting extremely high marks. The Fried Green Tomato Pimento Cheese Sandwich captures attention as well.

Many diners come in for grilled steaks or prime rib, but entrees such as Jambalaya and Pecan Chicken, Shrimp and Grits, or Chicken and Waffles provide enticing options. I chose the wing-n-waffle during a recent visit and requested that the wing(s) be mild. This was served with a sweet tea syrup and honey butter. The wings had plenty of kick to them, and no additional syrup was necessary. This entree was full of flavor and very filling. Diners will also find pork, seafood and pasta dishes on the menu.

Bread pudding, Mississippi Mud Cake and several variations of creme brulee headline the dessert menu, and twenty craft beer offerings add to the casual-but-exceptional vibe found in smith.

Saturday brunch is gaining in popularity, and Julia Smith particularly recommends the Crab Eggs Benedict. I had a chance to sample that dish plus the Captain Crunch French Toast and found them both to be outstanding.

Thoughts: Russell Smith and his wife Julia opened smith. in 2013. They met in Oxford, Mississippi, when both worked in the same restaurant. He was an apprentice of Chef John Currence at City Grocery, and she was a student at [amazon_textlink asin=’B07453QSNB’ text=’Ole Miss’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’49e03409-f665-11e8-a7a1-7310d0fcecf1′] (the University of Mississippi). Even though Smith just recently turned forty, he brings a wealth of restaurant experience and background to this venture. Russell’s Beef House, on Highway 72 in Corinth, was opened by his grandfather in 1978 and is still thriving.

Smith is about to join the board for the culinary program at a local community college. He hopes to be able to influence students in that setting and provide the kind of encouragement he received from Currence and others along his own journey. He told us that even though the population of Corinth is only 15,000, his restaurant draws diners from Jackson and Tupelo, Mississippi, and even Memphis people come through when they are visiting nearby Pickwick Lake.

The Corinth Art Museum provides the stunning paintings lining the walls of smith. The paintings rotate from time to time, and all are for sale to the general public.

The building features original floors, ceilings, and exposed brick walls. The restaurant bar is on the second floor which opens onto a balcony with a great view of downtown Corinth. That space is also in demand for parties and hosts a constant stream of live musicians.  Another interesting tidbit of history is that the restaurant building was originally the Tishomingo Savings and Loan and is believed to have been robbed by infamous Jesse James in 1874.

Price range: Appetizers $6-10. Salads $6-10. Sandwiches $8-10. Dinner entrees $15-35. Brunch choices are $8-10 with the sides being $3 each.

Connie Pearson

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