Fratesi Grocery and Service Center

Meat-and-Three | Sandwich Shop | Small Town Café
legendary
Worth driving from anywhere!
Save

Signs outside of the Fratesi Market boast that it sells fuel without added ethanol, but it’s a different kind of fill-up that we’re after. This gas station is a mix of the Creole-Italian café fare you find in Louisiana with some Mississippi Deltas twists. For local color and good food, it’s hard to beat.

Most people come for plate lunch. Every day a different special is featured. We were lucky enough to pass through on fried catfish Friday. The catfish is aromatic, flaky and crunchy on the outside. The dredge has more spices than most — a very good thing. It comes on a pile of some of the richest hushpuppies we’ve tasted. They are small — meaning crunchier — and studded with corn kernels and coarsely cracked black pepper.

Whichever day you happen upon Fratesi, get fried green tomatoes as a side with plate lunch. They are more more savory than average, making dipping sauce unnecessary.

If you’re keen to stick to Deep South gas-station classics, the po’ boy and muffuletta menu at Fratesi is worth exploring. The bread on both is quite different from what you’ll find in New Orleans. It is pale, practically under-baked, and a tad sour. It also is much smaller than the average city loaf, meaning that an entire po’ boy is easily finished. Considering the bread, the meatball po’ boy is more like a sub, really, but it’s a superb one.

The muffuletta loaf deviates even further from Louisiana. Unlike the spongy, sesame rich loaves in New Orleans, this bread is something like dense ciabatta. It is tasty itself, its dense texture resisting absorption of oil from a wonderful, zesty house dressing and olive salad. Muffuletta purists may cringe, but we’re open-minded (clueless) enough to appreciate the heresy. We might actually prefer it to “correct” versions.

A couple of added bonuses: the seating area is unusually comfortable and well-maintained for a “service station” and the mini-mart is exceptional. Often, these sorts of shops are poorly maintained because most effort is devoted to the sandwiches. Not here. Even if you’re not ready for hot food, Fratesi is a worthwhile place to stop for a cold drink, live bait, ammo, and a thorough selection of local spices and sauces. If you’re feeling particularly sociable, grab a tall can from the case, and have a beer with some locals.

What to Eat
Fratesi Grocery and Service Center, Catfish Plate Lunch
Catfish Plate Lunch
Must-Try
Thin, flaky catfish, zesty fried green tomatoes, cool slaw
Fratesi Grocery and Service Center, Muffuletta
Muffuletta
Must-Try
Thin bread makes way for lots of thick-cut meat.
Fratesi Grocery and Service Center, Hush Puppies
Hush Puppies
Must-Try
Whole corn kernels and vigorous seasoning are the secrets to excellent hush puppies.
Fratesi Grocery and Service Center, Meatball Po-Boy
Meatball Po-Boy
Rich and spicy meatballs: restaurant quality stuff
Directions and Hours
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Maranto’s Corner

    Anguilla, Mississippi

    Maranto’s Corner is a gas station eatery in a desolate but welcoming Delta village. Fried chicken lunch is not to be missed.

  • Delta Meat Market

    Cleveland, Mississippi

    Soulful, southern, bistro fare at the Delta Supper Club showcases local products and tradition with New American savoir faire.

  • Steven’s Barbecue

    Greenwood, Mississippi

    Steven’s is a BBQ dive in genteel downtown Greenwood, Mississippi, featuring Memphis style ribs, Delta hot tamales, and fabulous chocolate cake.

  • White Front Café

    Rosedale, Mississippi

    Tamales are at their best at the White Front Cafe, a Mississippi Delta destination where they’re the only thing on the menu.

  • Rhoda’s Famous Tamales

    Lake Village, Arkansas

    Blue-ribbon beef & chicken tamales emanate irresistibly appetizing aroma. No wonder Rhoda’s is the pride of Lake Village.

  • Crystal Grill

    Greenwood, Mississippi

    Cream pies are some of Mississippi’s best at the Crystal Grill, where pre-pie lunch includes classic Dixie vegetables and hot tamales.