It is always a joyous occasion when I get to message Jamie Massengale and ask for a ride to dinner. In our usual “Food with Friends” style, Jamie was a gentleman and drove a newlywed Allison Neville and I to our destination this month: the Petal location of local favorite Sully’s.
We met up with our loyal photographer and resident beer drinker, Rob Walker, and the fourth Food Friend, J. Evan Curry. Evan was a Sully’s virgin, and we were eager to show him what he had been missing.
Sully’s holds a special place in my heart as my husband and I were big fans of their $6 burger nights in the early years of our relationship, and the Hattiesburg location was where we had dinner with our families the night before our wedding.
If we were going to make them come all the way to Hattiesburg, we had to show them the best there was to offer.
The original Hattiesburg location opened in January of 2012 through the partnership and work of Stephen Hampton, Scott Lowry and Brian McLelland. It quickly became popular in the area through word of mouth. What started as steak nights there soon took over the menu and became their staple.
All for good reason, as, no exaggeration, these are the tastiest steaks you can get in the Hattiesburg area.
After a few years, they decided to expand to Petal and opened their second location on Evelyn Gandy Parkway in January of 2018. There is a reason that if you walk in any night of the week, you may have a little wait for a table. However, I assure you, their food is well worth the wait.
The red carpet
The Sully’s dinner entertainment of the evening was Casey Phillips, who provided an acoustic accompaniment to our delicious meal. And let me tell you, Hampton rolled out the red carpet for us for sure. He let us know that he was going to bring us a selection of their appetizers and offered to start us with some cocktails. Jamie ordered a refreshing Dutch Mule, Allison got a Frei Brothers pinot noir and I ordered a sweet and tasty Bambu Hawaiian. We were brought a beautiful selection of fried jumbo shrimp, shrimp and grits, bang bang shrimp, fried pickles, fried jalapenos, and then to round it all out, sauteed and fried crab claws.
The shrimp and grits at Sully’s are not your usual bowl of grits with shrimp on top; it’s a marvelous grit cake with the texture of a thick flan with shrimp resting on top for your enjoyment. The bang bang shrimp were tangy and tasty. The fried crab claws were the table favorite.
Hampton also showed us the newest addition to the Sully’s family, their third location that is soon to open in Gulfport. He showed us some pictures of the building, which is a repurposed factory that will serve as a dining area and a very smart event space. That’s just a heads up for the people close to the coast that will need a venue with great food sometime in the next year.
The whipped butter
Before our entrees came out, Hampton insisted we order the prime options of whatever we want. He also told us he wanted to try something special and brought us a plate of their hush puppies that are made in the style of a restaurant he worked at in his younger years. Instead of the familiar sphere of grease and cornbread, they are poured from a cement piping bag into the oil and look kind of like a thick savory funnel cake. He brought them to us with whipped butter and whipped brown sugar butter. The hush puppies alone were amazing, but the brown sugar butter took them to the new level. In Jamie’s words, “Oh my God, that butter just changed my world. And the hush puppy itself, so soft and gooey.” Rob also chimed in, “I never thought I would brag so much about a hush puppy.” We made quick work of the hush puppy platter, and after another drink order (I went with the delicious Sullivan’s Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade this time), it was time for the main event: entrees.
The main event
Allison ordered the fettuccine alfredo with grilled shrimp and a side garden salad with their house-made Thousand Island dressing from a recipe Hampton took from a previous restaurant experience. The alfredo sauce was out of this world amazing: creamy and cheesy perfection. Jamie ordered the Ahi tuna with blackened broccoli and grilled asparagus. He ordered it rare, the only way to order tuna. They serve it with a sauce that is 50/50 balsamic vinaigrette and Kikkoman soy. Jamie said it, paired with the rare ahi tuna, was umami perfection.
Evan ordered the 12-ounce prime ribeye with a loaded baked potato and steamed broccoli. He was absolutely giddy about his steak and immediately took a picture of it, proudly exclaiming “it’s two inches thick.” It was truly magnificent, a perfectly cooked ribeye. What fat was there was tender, buttery and full of flavor. The beef itself was salty and charred, the kind of steak you dream about. Hank Hill would have shed a tear.
Rob also got the ribeye, but in sandwich form with a side of onion rings and a house-made barbeque sauce that were the envy of Allison and a table favorite. Rob is no stranger to a good sandwich, but this ribeye sandwich left him truly baffled on where to begin due to its size. You definitely get the bang for your buck with the ribeye sandwich.
I ordered the 8-ounce prime filet mignon with a loaded baked potato and grilled asparagus.
Without a doubt, it was one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten.
The prime filet cut was so delicate and tender; it absolutely melts in your mouth.
Paired with their perfectly fluffy loaded baked potato and grilled asparagus, it was a classic steak dinner, full of flavor and absolutely filling.
‘I hurt myself today…’
As we finished our entrees, one of those real-life movie moments happened. As we realized we had maybe been a little too zealous with our eating pace and over-served ourselves, Casey Phillips began to play Johnny Cash’s legendary cover of Nine Inch Nail’s “Hurt.” We all had a moment to laugh and reflect on our meal, and then, to twist the knife, we were asked what we wanted for dessert.
As full as we were, I promise you, there is always room for cheesecake from Sully’s. They do an ever rotating and sometimes seasonal selection of made in-house flavors, and we had the Brownie Sundae cheesecake and the Sweet Potato cheesecake.
The Brownie Sundae was exactly that: cheesecake with a layer of tasty brownie, and in true sundae style, a cherry on top. My personal favorite was the Sweet Potato cheesecake, a mashup of sweet potato casserole and cheesecake with pecans and marshmallows on top. It was the perfect fall flavor explosion.
As Hampton said as he left us with our entrees, Sully’s is in “the entertainment industry, we’re going to entertain your mouth and ears.”
For amazing food in a relaxing atmosphere with a side of casual acoustic music, Sully’s has something for everyone.
Their menu has something for every price point, too: get yourself a delicious burger or the finest steak and seafood in town. No matter what you get, it will truly be a knockout.