Iconic Jackson businesses committed to serving the capital city

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 10:43 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - If you live, work or play in the city of Jackson you have probably heard about two of the oldest restaurants in the area, Big Apple Inn and Stamps Super Burgers.

For decades, the owners say they have been able to overcome challenges including the recent water crisis.

And, they told WLBT they are committed to the city of Jackson.

Happy faces and hugs are usually what you get when you enter the Big Apple Inn. Inside, the sizzling sounds of southern food follow.

Everything from pig ear sandwiches to its top sellers at the Iconic restaurant.

“Our number one seller is a smoke sausage sandwich; it is a red rose smoke sausage sandwich which is only made in Mississippi, and I hear they don’t even ship outside of the state,” said Lee.

Geno Lee is the fourth-generation owner of the restaurant on Farish Street in downtown Jackson.

His family moved to this location back in the 50′s and it has grown in popularity ever since.

“The Food Network, the Travel Channels, and I did an interview with CNN, all because I think we have a story, and our story is not to get rich it’s just to help the people.”

In the mid-twentieth century, Farish Street was the largest economically independent African American community in Mississippi.

Lee says over the years although challenges have come, he has remained faithful to the city and the citizens he serves.

“I think the areas that we are in are called food deserts. There are no grocery stores nearby, but you can get a meal and a drink for five or six dollars here.”

Miles away in West Jackson, expect to get a warm greeting and some mouth-water southern food from Stamps Super Burger.

“We want to make sure everyone that walks through the door they’re welcomed, and they feel special and excited, and they feel significant. Coach Prime, Mayor Lumumba, they come in by and see us at the time. We are thinking folks as you mentioned from out of the country Australia, Scotland many places to get a Stamps Burger,” said Operations Manager Philippian “Phil” Stamps II.

The family-owned business is famously known for their award-winning, 11-ounce massive burger, and hand cut lemon peppered French Fries.

The history is just as rich as the food.

“We were originally founded by my grandfather in 1970, he purchased this building as a grocery meat market, and he operated a business out of this very business for a while and in 1986 we officially became Stamps super burger that’s when he introduced his famous burger to this community,” said Philippian “Phil” Stamps II.

Stamps has also been able to navigate challenges over the years. From adjusting hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic to weathering Jackson’s water crisis.

In fact, Stamps is one of 25 recipients and the only Mississippi-based restaurant on the list selected for a Preservation Grant.

“We are blessed.”

Both Stamps and Big Apple Inn say they are proud to be considered pillars in the community and they are committed to providing southern cuisine and southern hospitality here in Jackson.

“Number one, Jackson is a resilient city.”

“My daughter just moved to California but there is no flavor like Mississippi. That is what people need to get the flavor of Jackson, the flavor of the south. If we can just get it going,” Lee said.

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