While Hattie’s has been the place in town for Southern food since they opened in 1938, they might be equally known for the lively gatherings that happen on their patio after days at the horse-racing track. Even if you’re not in town for the ponies, you can dine in the original front room, which hasn’t changed much since its origins, with old photographs adorning the walls above casual checkered tablecloths, or head to the back bar where fake moss dangles from the ceiling. The menu includes classics like hush puppies, peel-and-eat shrimp, and gumbo, but you absolutely must order the fried chicken and a homemade biscuit. Add on some sides, like the mashed potatoes and cajun coleslaw, and consider getting your chicken “Nashville hot,” which has just enough heat to please spice-lovers without making you full-on sweat. And if you’re here for brunch, the Bloody Mary is one of the best in town.

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