By Andrea Brown Ross. Photography courtesy of Andrea Brown Ross
Southerners love food, family, and fellowship which is what makes Sunday brunch so appetizing. And in the Mississippi Delta town of Sumner, the Sumner Grille is serving up Southern favorites.
Current owner and chef, Vanessa Pimpton, worked under the tutelage of Executive Chef, Walt Norwood. Since his departure last year, Pimpton has taken on full responsibilities at the restaurant which opened in 2013.
“I was born and raised in Sumner. I got my start cooking for the public by helping my sister. We served plated lunches in Tutwiler, right down the road,” shared Pimpton.
While her restaurant still serves daily lunch specials of a meat and three sides, the evening and Sunday brunch menus offer a more sophisticated repertoire.
“Some of our specials include smoked prime rib, stuffed pork tenderloin, and rice grits,” shared server, Tonya Bell.
And if you haven’t had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of rice grits, as opposed to corn or hominy grits, you’re in for one heck of a surprise. Supplied by the locally grown Mississippi Blue Rice Company, Pimpton’s grits will make customers want to lick the bowl clean.
“The fried chicken is definitely a brunch favorite. Our grits and grillades, our benedicts, and our waffle BLT’s where waffles replace bread, are also favorites. I think that’s what makes us different. Customers can get soul food and breakfast,” explained Pimpton.
“Our grillades include bits of steak with peppers and tomatoes, similar to rotel,” explained Bell.
Benedict options include Bayou Benedict (catfish), Beouf Benedict (steak), and crab. French Toast Bananas Foster and the popular “SG” burger are offered on the brunch menu.
Just as diverse as their menu is the array of customers. Patrick Weems, executive director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, explained.
“The Sumner Grille offers a space for local community members. On any given day you will see a cross section of the community. Even more local nonprofits and community groups use the Sumner Grille to further their works from early childhood education to economic development,” he said.
Pimpton commented, “It’s not uncommon for us to have a ladies group meet up here for brunch. They’ll come from different parts of the Delta to get together. When the duck hunters arrive in the winter, we really get busy. We serve customers from around the world.”
Sumner Grille offers a private dining room as well as bar which serves beer only. Lockers are available for patrons wanting to bring wine and/or hard liquor. Set ups are available at the bar. Reservations are taken for groups and limited catering options are available. A smoke-free restaurant, Sunday brunch is served from 11a.m. to 2p.m. Check their facebook page for full menus, hours, as well as their specials.
“We’ll be serving something special for Easter brunch and the Mother’s Day brunch,” said Pimpton.
“The community is now thriving with a museum, art gallery, and other small businesses opening up,” said Weems. “The Sumner Grille is an important part of the new story of Sumner that is emerging.”