“Beignet enthusiasts usually make a beeline for New Orleans, but they’d be wise to cross the Mississippi border for these extra-fluffy numbers.”
No, that’s not my biased promotion of one of our state’s oldest treasures, Triplett-Day Drug Co. in Gulfport. The description came straight from Food Network Magazine’s article, 50 States, 50 Breakfasts. This Gulf Coast landmark was named the best place to enjoy breakfast in Mississippi a few years ago, and I’d be willing to bet it would still earn the ranking or be in the top 10 of best breakfasts in the state.
If you’re like me, you’ve driven by the drugstore located at the corn of 14th Street and U.S. 49 in downtown Gulfport a million times on your way to the Gulf Coast. Until I visited the historic drugstore as part of a national food and travel writers’ tour, I was oblivious to the pleasures waiting inside. I’d seen the green-striped exterior and glass-fronted windows, but figured it was just another pharmacy, albeit one with a bit of history attached. I soon learned it’s a whole lot more than a place to get prescriptions filled.
Triplett-Day has been reigning supreme on the corner a block or two from the beach since 1955. Of course, for decades, locals have been enjoying the old-fashioned soda fountain, delicious breakfasts and lunches, and the cozy space in which to enjoy a cup of coffee with a sugar-dusted beignet. Thanks to the Food Network’s ranking and plethora of media visiting the Coast, Triplett-Day has garnered national attention for its walk-back-in-time interior, but most of all, for its food.
My ignorance turned to bliss when I sat down at a cozy booth with a group of hungry journalists and was served a plate filled with a large, fluffy biscuit, along with some of the most delicious beignets I’d ever tasted. My counterparts, many of whom had visited New Orleans numerous times and sampled fine pastries around the world, agreed with my assessment.
The only possible negative aspect of Triplett-Day is that breakfast and lunch are only served Monday through Friday. But in a way, that’s good. It gives you an excuse to make a weekday trip to the Coast. I promise, it’ll be worth the trip. And, you’ll also enjoy browsing around the family-owned pharmacy and gift shop, stocked with pottery, gifts, books and cookbooks, jewelry, and more.
First, here’s what you can expect if you drop in for breakfast, served from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. I’ll start with the famous beignets (2 for $3.85). According to owner Poem Love, they’re made from the same buttermilk dough as the fluffy biscuits. As a result, they possess a distinct taste and texture from the ones served at New Orleans’ Café du Monde and other bakeries. It’s hard to describe them, other than to say, you need to try them for yourself. You may never again go to NOLA for your beignet fix.
Once you’ve sampled the beignets, it’s on to heartier breakfast selections, like hot cakes with sausage or bacon ($5.95), French toast ($4), two eggs with ham, bacon, or sausage ($5.60), or smaller orders of eggs or meat selections. Grits and toast or biscuits are served with egg orders, making it one of the most economical places on the Coast to enjoy a hearty breakfast.
Sides of oatmeal ($2), hash browns ($1.85), cheese toast ($2.85), and a biscuit, egg, and cheese sandwich ($3.75) can be ordered with meals or enjoyed solo with a cup of steaming hot coffee. At $1.40 a cup, it’s no wonder coffee clubs have been meeting daily at Triplett-Day for their morning cup of Joe for decades, with the oldest member going strong at 96.
If you get to the Coast a little later in the day, no worries. Lunch is served at the quaint soda fountain or in the adjacent seating area from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.Choose from a number of grilled burgers and cheeseburgers ($3-$4.50); freshly-made sandwiches, including ham, roast beef, turkey, egg, and club ($3.50-$5.95), chicken or tuna salad and BLT ($3.75), and even an old-school grilled cheese ($2.85).
Or, try one of the lighter salads, including a salad platter filled with three scoops of chicken, tuna, or potato salad ($5.75) chef’s ($5.95), or a smaller version of greens, potato, or meat-based salad.
Lunch is best enjoyed with one of Triplett-Day’s cherry or vanilla Cokes ($2.25), milkshakes ($4.25), or thick malts ($4.50). The perfect ending to any meal is a chocolate or fruit-filled sundae ($3.95), ice cream float, or ice cream soda ($3.95).
The next time you’re heading south to the Coast, take a quick turn to the left when you see the striped exterior and walk through the doors at Triplett-Day. You’ll be transported back to a simpler time and will enjoy the food, specialty drinks, and the Triplett-Day experience that has been going strong for 63 years.
Triplett-Day is located 2429 14th St. at U.S. 49 in Gulfport. Regular business hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The store is closed on weekends. Breakfast is served from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.; lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 228-863-2363 for more information.