By Geraldine Mishev
October 31, 2014
Blue Collar Restaurant Group

First, the bad news: Jackson is not known for its budget eats. We’ve got plenty of restaurants with $20+ entrees—you could eat at a different one every night and not duplicate for nearly a month. You can exhaust our supply of $15 and under meals in a week though. But there’s good news too: What we lack in variety and number of budget bites, we make up for with quality. Even though their prices set them apart from high-end restaurants, our more affordable eateries still have to compete with the fancy pants places. Expect to find some locally sourced, house-made, and organic ingredients standard at many of these places. Two years ago Betty Rock invested the time and effort to make everything on its menu gluten -ree. And then of course they also found delicious gluten free breads. Here are five budget restaurants where you don’t have to sacrifice on taste or quality.


Arnold Schwarzenegger stormed out of Bubba’s when they wouldn’t seat him ahead of the line out the door—the restaurant doesn’t take reservations. He missed out on the sassiest waitresses in town and to-die-for BBQ. Soak in local flavor at breakfast—everyone from guides to the mayor loves the Worker’s Special. Thursdays at lunch there are free cookies.

Merry Piglets

What started as a shack three decades ago is (arguably) now the most popular Tex-Mex restaurant in the state. The hour-long wait on summer nights is worth it for the salsa and chips, which, like everything on the menu is made in-house and fresh to order. Of course meats are pasture-raised and hormone-free.

Betty Rock

Open, airy, and selling most everything a la carte, Betty Rock is a locals’ fav at lunch while visitors crowd in for beef, bison, veggie, and salmon burgers at dinner. Order a Chinese Chicken Salad or mozz pesto panini at the counter and then head for a banquette along the front windows, where you can watch downtown Jackson bike and walk by.

Liberty Burger

Onion rings the size of your face and beef, lamb, bison, veggie, and ahi burgers with toppings from goat cheese to peppadews along with standards like bacon, tomato, and cheddar: Liberty Burger will keep you stuffed for some time. Don’t miss the adult milkshakes and house-made pie for dessert.

Pica's Mexican Taqueria

I can’t get myself to order anything but the wet burrito here. I can play around with the insides—sometimes going for carne asada, other times grilled veggies or pork adobo, but I can’t change the sauce slathered on top. Fair warning: burritos here are the size of Derek Jeter’s forearm. You’ll want a pitcher of margaritas to help wash it down.