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JXN Restaurant Week Promotes the City’s Culinary Landscape

Construction workers building a new rooftop bar for Trio Eatery in downtown Jackson on Wednesday served as the backdrop for Visit Jackson’s press conference announcing JXN Restaurant Week, a series of curated events and promotions running from Feb. 24 through March 1 that will highlight the city’s signature culinary landscape.

“This initiative allows us to test new initiatives, build partnerships and create a buzz for the upcoming JXN Food & Wine Festival,” Visit Jackson CEO Rickey Thigpen told those gathered at the conference. “But also, the restaurant scene and culinary scene in Jackson is growing and becoming respected not only in this city, not only in this state, not only in the southeast, but across this country and across the world.”

Each day of the week-long celebration has a designated theme and a list of restaurants to accompany said theme: Saturday is a cocktail bar crawl, Sunday is soul-food day, Monday is comeback-sauce day, Tuesday is international food day, Wednesday is fried chicken, Thursday is burgers, and Friday is fried fish.

“What we need you to do is gather your family, your friends, your co-workers and establish a list for where you’re going to visit to support our Jackson restaurants,” Visit Jackson Director of External Affairs Yolanda Clay-Moore said at the Feb. 21 press conference. “We have some of the richest culinary offerings here in the city, and we know that you’re going to take part in this great event.”

The restaurant lists that were created for each day came from crowdsourcing, Director of Brands and Creative Engagement Reshonda Perryman explained. Visit Jackson took the time to consider which restaurants locals considered their favorites to create themed days and events based on those answers.

JXN Restaurant Week’s kickoff event will is called the Cathead Cocktail Crawl and will feature eight participating restaurants in the Fondren neighborhood: Amerigo Italian Restaurant, Apothecary at Brent’s Drugs, Green Ghost Tacos, Highball Lanes, The Pearl Tiki Bar, Saltine Restaurant, The Station JXN and Zundo Ramen Bar.

“You can start by picking your passport at any of those locations … Once you collect your passport, you’ll see all the instructions on the back. Come and meet us back at Highball Lanes, where you can win a prize,” Perryman said.

The JXN Food and Wine Festival on Saturday, March 2, at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Miss., will bring together more than 20 local and regional chefs, including award winning chefs Cat Cora and Nick Wallace. Photo courtesy Visit Jackson

The bar crawl kicks off Feb. 24 from 7 p.m. and goes until midnight. The closing event for the week will be a fish fry, which Penn’s will provide, at the Welcome Center on March 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. DJ Java will provide entertainment. Earlier that same day, Visit Jackson will have a presser at 9:30 a.m. at Sugar’s Place patio announcing a special restaurant partnership.

JXN Restaurant Week leads into the sold-out JXN Food & Wine Festival on Saturday, March 2, which will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The festival will feature more than 20 local and regional chefs, as well as beverages and entertainment.

“We are encouraging everyone to stop and support your favorites, try out some new ones,” Perryman said. “You can follow our lists or don’t follow our lists. But whatever you do, post it on social media, tag us and tag the restaurants.”

People who tag the restaurants and Visit Jackson on social media are entered into a restaurant-themed giveaway prize that is worth $500, Perryman explained. Visit Jackson has also designed a social-media toolkit for the participating restaurants and will be promoting any specials or deals the establishments offer.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba often jokes that making sure people eat well is part of Jackson’s culture, he said. The city of Jackson is at the center of the “deep-fried South” and is right in the heart of rich food experiences.

“I think because we enjoy such a rich culinary experience in the city of Jackson, sometimes we take for granted that we are in a city with award-winning chefs,” Lumumba said on Feb. 21. “We take for granted that we have so many options of rich culinary experiences that we can take advantage of. But when you travel other places and you find that that isn’t as in abundance as it is in Jackson, then you truly appreciate what we have here.”

To learn more about JXN Restaurant Week and its participants, visit visitjackson.com. To sponsor or volunteer for the subsequent JXN Food & Wine Festival, sign up here. The JXN Welcome Center is located at 308 E. Pearl St., Suite 100, in Jackson.

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