What do you get when you combine North Mississippi authenticity with a heaping dose of Louisiana flair? Sprinkle in the nostalgia of a sweet grandmother, hand rolling biscuits in her quaint Southern kitchen, and you have a recipe for something truly magical. This is exactly the driving force behind one of Ocean Springs’ newest restaurants: The Lady May.
Owners Chris McDonald and Will Taylor are no strangers to the restaurant industry. Following in the success of Glory Bound Gyro Co., McDonald and Taylor wanted a concept that would draw from their fondest memories of childhood cooking – their grandmothers. When the space on Washington Avenue became available, the two knew this was their opportunity to develop and grow this new concept and immediately, The Lady May was born.
Although a goal behind The Lady May’s menu was to offer a simple selection that wouldn’t overwhelm its customer base, trying to decide what you want to eat can sometimes be a little complicated… because everything is so good. Brunch is served daily until 2 p.m., so if you still have breakfast on the brain, May’s Brunch Board is the best choice. Belgian waffles, toast, bacon, and sausage are beautifully presented alongside boiled eggs, fresh fruit, and house bacon jam. Everything pairs perfectly with the Build Your Own Bloody Mary bar.
If you’ve missed brunch, don’t fret because there are plenty of delicious choices left. The Snack Board is The Lady May’s take on the ever-popular charcuterie. Smoked sausage, pepperoni, a selection of cheeses, house pickled veggies, hummus, candied pecans, and warm bagel chips are served fresh and make for a great sharable snack.
Main entrée items at The Lady May are genuinely delicious representations of the things that both McDonald and Taylor loved about growing up cooking with their grandmothers. The Crawfish Monica is McDonald’s tribute to his Nola roots, featuring sauteed and fried crawfish tails tossed in a creamy and decadent sauce. The best part about this meal is the house-made biscuit hidden underneath a mountain of pasta. The Bacon Jam Burger is Taylor’s ode to the slugburger, a hamburger known for its use of breadcrumbs or potato flakes mixed in with the meat. The goal was to not only intensify the flavor, but to also feed more people during a time when every nickel or “slug” counted. The Bacon Jam burger features two patties, pepper jack cheese, and The Lady May’s signature bacon jam. Shoestring fries are piled high alongside what is one of The Lady’s May’s best dishes.
Both worlds collide with one of McDonald’s and Taylor’s most famous creations: the Honey Butter Chicken Plate. Dark meat chicken is battered, fried and served alongside a heaping portion of baked macaroni and a biscuit. Taylor insists that in order to get the full culinary experience, you have to “put the butter on the bird” referring to slathering the fried chicken with house-made whipped honey butter. He ain’t wrong one bit.
Even the desserts at The Lady May are on point. A new addition is the House Cookie Board featuring sugar, chocolate chip, and candied pecan cookies. But the Waffle Sundae is a personal favorite. A warm Belgian waffle is topped with caramel, chocolate chips, fresh fruit, and a generous helping of vanilla ice cream. Yum.
The Lady May is easily one of my most favorite Coastal spots. They offer their fried chicken, burgers and incredible flatbreads as part of their weekly specials. You can purchase any of their house pickles, jams, and much more in The Lady May store, and they’ve even recently launched custom gift boxes available for shipping nationwide. There is always a great selection of live music and the laidback family atmosphere can’t be beat.
Attention to detail is something that both McDonald and Taylor pride themselves on, a fact that is evident in every aspect of The Lady May brand, right down to serving their meals on a vast assortment of China plates. I definitely think their grandmothers would be proud.