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Jean's: It's just homecooking

By Staff
LOADING PLATES Sandy Baker, left, loads a plate full of turnip greens while Louise Blanks and Norris Mosley work on an order to go. The three have 36 combined years at Jean's Restaurant. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
May 8, 2002
When you enter the glass door at Jean's Restaurant the first thing you see is the smiling face of Jean Bullock the owner since 1979.
The next thing a hungry customer sees is a plate full of "homecooking."
In the restaurant business since age 16, Bullock learned how to cook by watching and doing.
The restaurant opens bright and early at 6:30 a.m. The menu is extensive with omelets, biscuits, eggs, grits and, as Bullock puts it, "real ham steak" as the favorites.
French toast and honey buns are served hot for those with a morning sweet tooth. Everything is topped off with orange juice, milk, coffee or hot chocolate.
When lunch rolls around meals are made to order. Each day customers choose from a selection of meats ranging from veal cutlet to chicken and dumplings. There are about 15 vegetables to select from including, turnip greens, field peas, okra, steamed cabbage, baked squash and spiced beets.
The meats and vegetables are changed on a daily basis. The plates are priced at $5.95 and included a good helping of food.
And when the waitress asks, "Would anyone like dessert?" The answer is a firm "Yes, please."
Just like the vegetables, the mouth-watering pies are homemade.
Favorites include coconut, potato, chocolate, lemon ice box and that Southern favorite pecan. And don't forget the banana pudding and peach cobbler.
Jean's also offers a diet menu for diners watching their waistlines.
The menu started as a necessity. Bullock's late husband was told he needed to lose weight by his doctor. This gave her the idea to start the menu.
The diet menu features baked chicken breast, baked catfish, tuna fish and chicken salad. Three vegetables are added to make the meal complete. They include, baked squash, green beans, boiled okra, green salad and fresh fruit.
The diet menu food is prepared with no butter, oil or salt.
Bullock describes her dishes as "homecooking." She no longer cooks, instead she plans the daily menus and makes sure each customer is greeted as he walks through the door. She credits her longtime kitchen employees with making sure the dishes are tasty.
Bullock always thought the food at her restaurant was good. But when she sees customers carrying cornbread out in the palm of their hand, she knows it true.