It’s not often that you get to enjoy a prize-winning steak on the site of an 1889 prizefight that garnered world-wide attention. Even if you’re not a fighting aficionado, you might wonder about the origin of Sully’s, a Hattiesburg-area steakhouse with the name of one of the famed fighters attached. I can personally attest, Sully’s steaks have the same knock-out punch as the blows leveled over a century ago by John L. Sullivan, the restaurant’s namesake.
First, just a little about that famous fight. One hundred thirty years ago last month, the last officially sanctioned, bare-knuckle world heavyweight prizefighting championship took place just south of Hattiesburg at the intersection of present-day Sullivan-Kilrain and Richburg roads. South Mississippi pines were cut to create the site for the fight between champion fighter Sullivan and challenger Jake Kilrain. The fight lasted over two hours and was eventually won by Sullivan as crowds from around the state and nation watched.
World-wide newspapers and even carrier pigeons spread stories about the illegal fight, which garnered over $1 million in bets in an era when the average worker made 25 cents an hour. Afterwards, both men were arrested and tried for prizefighting. Kilrain served a short sentence working on an area farm and Sullivan’s case was thrown out. Even if, like me, you’re not a fan of fighting, it’s a pretty interesting read courtesy of framed newspapers and other memorabilia as you wait for your sizzling Sully’s steak. A nearby marker at the site draws fighting fans from around the nation, tourism officials say.
Tales of the famous fight are interesting, but history goes out the window when a sizzling Sully’s steak is placed before you. Juicy, tender, and filled with flavor, like the famous fight, it’s a sight you don’t want to miss.
Sully’s offers a full lineup of appetizers, burgers, seafood, and daily lunch specials, but steaks are the best event on the marque. Therefore, I’ll start there, and after I describe them, you may not want to move to the next round.
Worthy of its own championship belt is the popular and best-selling Sully’s ribeye. It’s rich, tender, and delivers a flavorful one-two punch. Served in varying sizes of 12, 16, and 20-ounce, there’s the USDA prime ($30.99 - $45.99) and angus beef ($24.99-$37.99) I assure you, any size or variety you choose, you’ll be as happy as John Sullivan after his famous fight.
Offering a delicious counter-punch is the filet. The tender steak with melt-in-your-mouth texture and flavor will deliver everything you desire on a plate. Ranging from 6-10-ounce and from $29.99-$55.99 depending on variety and size, it’s a meal well worth its price tag.
And, there’s the famous New York strip for those that enjoy this lean cut. From 12-16-ounce and ranging from $23.99-$29.99, it’s a meal that will hold its own in its namesake city.
Last, you won’t be considered a featherweight if you order the 10-ounce hamburger steak ($15.99) filled with ground chuck, filet mignon and ribeye and topped with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and gravy. It’s a meal fit for a famous fighter or anyone else desiring a memorable meal. Hamburger Steak
For a little “something extra” atop your steak, a few dollars more bring toppings like blue cheese, shrimp, crab meat, and a variety of seafood cream sauces. They’re delicious, but Sully’s steaks are so good on their own that it’s not a “must-have” addition.
If you want to bring a little seafood into the ring, there’s jumbo Gulf shrimp ($15.99), mahi-mahi ($16.99), and ahi tuna ($16.99).
Dinner sides are $2.99 and including baked potato (I highly recommend the loaded version), onion rings, mashed potato and gravy, home fries, grilled asparagus, among others.
Pasta and steak are also a good combination and at Sully’s, the choices are plentiful. There’s fettuccini Alfredo ($11.99) and shrimp and garlic or spicy chicken and andouille (both $16.99) to get you started.
The warm-up to any meal is almost as important as the main event and Sully’s doesn’t disappoint with its appetizers, ranging from mozzarella sticks ($7.99), fried pickles or jalapeno chips ($7.99), to another ode to the famous fight, fisticuffs fries ($11.99).
However, Sully Sacks ($6.99) regularly land up on “Best of Hattiesburg” food lists. It’s a tasty combination of chicken with jalapeno-infused cheese mixed together and deep-fried, then served with Sully’s ranch dressing.
If a burger or sandwich is on your mind, Sully’s has a full repertoire. While reading about the famous fight courtesy of framed newspapers and other memorabilia, order the Sullivan burger ($10.99), Kilrain's black and blue ($10.99), middle weight ($9.99), or the famous rib-eye po’boy ($15.99), to list a few.
Sully’s is located at 213 Sullivan Kilrain Road in Hattiesburg. Another location has opened at 1272 Evelyn Gandy Parkway in Petal. Hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and until 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sunday.