How many times do you enter a restaurant that’s somewhat famous for a specific cuisine or dish, only to find a confusing number of dissimilar items on the menu? When only a burger will do, a place that won’t distract you with a dizzying array of “everything but burgers” is Mugshots Grill and Bar. With 22 burger varieties and even more toppings, Mugshots, located from the Gulf Coast to Oxford, knows a thing or two about burgers.
Okay, I'll admit, there are a few other items on the menu. But burgers are the unequivocal star at Mugshots, which has been creating, shaping, flipping, sizzling, and spicing up its creative, meaty offerings since 2004. Almost as notable, Mugshots is a true restaurant success story in a state in which restaurants regularly come and go.
First opened as a small burger restaurant on West Fourth Street in Hattiesburg near the Southern Miss campus, Mugshots has grown into a chain of nearly 20 restaurants in three states. Besides the Hattiesburg location, which relocated to 40th Avenue off Hardy Street following a fire in 2011, other Mississippi locations include spots in Flowood, Ridgeland, Starkville, Oxford, Meridian, Columbus, Tupelo, and along the Gulf Coast.
Since the Hattiesburg location is my go-to destination, I’ll focus on its menu, which is similar to the one offered at the other locations.
First, back to those 22 varieties. It doesn’t seem possible that a simple patty of ground beef could be transformed into so many different burgers, but it can and does happen on a daily basis. In fact, Mugshots does such a good job of not just cooking burgers, but dressing them up in the most delightful way, one of its signature burgers is regularly on the “Best of” food lists in its different locales, including in Mississippi.
When describing a restaurant’s menu offerings, I usually begin with the appetizers. However, since this is a burger chain revue, I’ll begin with the main attraction. Similarly, I’ll first describe my favorite Mugshots burgers.
I’ve tried to give others a chance and on occasion, I do. However, more often than not, I order the A1 Steak Sauce Burger ($9.79). On top of a juicy burger is a stack of hickory smoked bacon, melted cheddar cheese, A1 steak sauce, Comeback sauce, lettuce, and tomato. I’m not sure if it’s the combination of the tangy A1 and spicy Comeback sauces, but it’s definitely at the top of my personal “Best of” list.
Other specialty burgers that are delicious in their own right include the Red, White, and Blue Burger ($9.49), an 8-ounce seasoned beef patty packed with wing sauce, blue cheese crumbles, ranch, lettuce, and tomato; Da Big Kahuna Burger ($9.99), a beef patty with teriyaki sauce, hickory smoked bacon, grilled pineapple slices, lettuce, and tomato; Stu's Magic Mushroom Burger ($9.99), a beef patty with sautéed mushrooms, melted Swiss cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and red onion; the Gamble ($9.99), packed with beef chili, housemade rotel, sour cream, jalapenos, and lettuce and perhaps the most unusual burger you’ve ever experienced - the Mac and Cheese ($11.99). It starts off normal enough with grilled patty and hickory smoked bacon. Then, it takes an unusual, albeit delicious, turn with the addition of mac and cheese sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches.
Another of my favorites, The Texan ($9.79), is a seasoned beef patty topped with pepper jack cheese, fried onion strings, and fried jalapenos with mayo, lettuce, and tomato.
It’s impossible to list them all, but I have to mention the 1000 Island ($9.49), a gourmet beef patty topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion, and 1,000 Island dressing; the Pizza (burger, not pie, $9.99), a seasoned beef patty highlighted with pepperoni, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese; the Breakfast ($9.99), filled with bacon, fried egg, American cheese with lettuce, tomato, and mayo; and the Steak ($11.99), sirloin steak that’s been chopped and grilled with onions and bell peppers, then smothered with Swiss cheese, mayo, lettuce, and tomato and served on an 8-ounce seasoned beef patty.
You can’t go wrong with selecting any one of these “signature” and “original menu” burgers. Mugshots is committed to creating a quality burger, using certified Angus beef and fresh sourdough buns. Trying to name all the toppings and sauces is nearly impossible. Just a few include homemade Comeback sauce, rotel, and mushroom gravy, in addition to regular dressings.
Those looking to eat a little healthier can choose from among a variety of salads, including the Buffalo bleu ($8.99), blackened Mahi ($10.99), chicken Caesar ($8.99), and blackened shrimp Caesar ($9.99).
Now, to those starters that I relegated to second place behind the burgers. While waiting for the main attraction, I typically order Davis’ Dill Pickle Chips ($6.99). It’s really just a fancy name for fried pickles. With a side of homemade Comeback sauce, though, they’re anything but ordinary.
Other appetizers are pow-pow shrimp ($8.99), lightly battered and fried shrimp tossed in a tangy sweet and spicy sauce; Tee’s cheese wedges ($7.59), hand cut and battered mozzarella or pepper jack wedges served with marinara; Buffalo wings ($6.49-$19.29, depending on the amount) and Mug’s queso dip ($6.49).
Those looking to eat a little healthier can choose from among a variety of salads, including the Buffalo bleu ($8.99), blackened Mahi ($10.99), chicken Caesar ($8.99) and blackened shrimp Caesar ($9.99).
Mugshots also serves sandwiches, ranging from Philly ($9.79) to shrimp ($9.99) to turkey club ($9.99) as well as pasta (Cajun is $9.99; blackened shrimp is $11.49) and plates of country fried steak and hamburger steak ($9.99 each).
A number of sides, including fries, onion rings, potato salad and loaded mashed potatoes are in the $1.49-$2.99 range.
However, Mugshots’ burgers reign supreme and are the primary reason most diners walk through its doors. They don’t leave disappointed – or hungry.
The Hattiesburg Mugshots is located at 204 N. 40th Avenue. Hours are 10:45 a.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and until 12 a.m. Thursday – Saturday. Other location hours are listed on individual web pages.