Great small businesses have several things in common: personal attention and superior customer service, high-quality products and services, a positive impact in the surrounding community, an attitude of service and a knowledgeable team.
Based on these criteria, we asked you to nominate your favorite local companies — and we received nearly 3,000 votes. Here are your choices for the Coast’s best small businesses:
OVERALL WINNER/OCEAN SPRINGS:
THE SCRATCH KITCHEN
Food truck delights diners with fresh, unique cuisine
By Jennifer Gentile
On their summer road trip last year, during a stop in Denver, Brittany Cruso Alexander and her husband fell in love with food trucks.
Brittany remembers sitting in a brewery, watching throngs of diners enjoy food from the trucks parked outside, when she had a revelation.
“I can only remember thinking how great this would be back home,” the Biloxi native recalls. “Before we left, my mind was made up; I could do this. I WOULD do this!”
By the time she’d reached the next state, Brittany had even picked a name for her business: The Scratch Kitchen. Her grandmother, who drew people to her table with homemade fare, was her inspiration.
“With everything I’ve ever learned from her suddenly running through the mind, I somehow gained a sense of faith that I was no longer just talking — but planning The Scratch Kitchen in my mind from that very moment,” Brittany recalls.
Since opening on May 21, the Ocean Springs-based food truck has earned rave reviews for its fresh, creative cuisine. With 210 votes, The Scratch Kitchen was chosen the Best Small Business in South Mississippi by Gulf Coast Woman readers.
Neither Brittany nor her husband, Billy Alexander Jr., has formal culinary training, but both have an affinity for people and great food. Billy’s experience in transportation management and food service has benefitted the business greatly, Brittany says, while her background in public health and marketing ensures everything is done to high standards.
“We are TSK,” she says, “and when people come to the truck and see us, they know they’re getting our all!”
The food truck’s menu changes often, Brittany says, and she advises customers to “come with your taste buds ready.” Some fan favorites include loaded street corn, bang bang shrimp, smashed potatoes, loaded nachos and fruit cocktails. For the colder weather, homemade stews, soups and chilis will be added, Brittany says — with peaches and cream fruit nachos for dessert.
Patrons can savor their meals in Food Truck Square, a revamped outdoor dining area that has been furnished with picnic tables, new pavement, lighting, and umbrellas for shade.
“The vibe in downtown Ocean Springs can’t be found anywhere else on the Coast,” Brittany says. “The people have welcomed us into their city with open arms.”
She estimates that on an average day, The Scratch Kitchen serves 300 items to customers looking for delicious food and good vibes. One notable visitor was Professional Eater Randy Santel, who devoured a seven-pound heavenly fruit nacho plate in just over 15 minutes — earning a spot on the TSK Wall of Fame.
“We never imagined that our food would be bringing so many people together,” Brittany says. “There may be a small wait, but it will definitely be worth it!”
WANT TO GO?
The Scratch Kitchen
1316 Government St., Ocean Springs
Hours: Closed Monday-Wednesday, noon-3 p.m., 5-8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; noon-4 p.m. Sunday
OCEAN SPRINGS FINALISTS
4 Bulls Meats Seafood & Deli
Bay Pest Control
Blue Dog Bistro
Charisma “A Girl’s Best Outfit”
Chef Scott’s Restaurant
Christie Fountain Advertising, Inc.
Common Threads Uniform Shoppe
DaBayou Bar & Grill
Delmar Mortgage Ocean Springs
Flowers By Karen
Growing like Weeds Children’s Consignment Sale
Integrity Automotive Group
It’s All Arranged
Love & Aesthetics Ocean Springs
Miner’s Big Stuff Doll & Toy Store
Nana J’s Soulful Kitchen
Ocean Springs Mercantile
Smile Gulf Coast
Sugar and Spice
Tap & Crust
The Pink Rooster
W.P. Shelton Jewelers
Wood & Wine Design Co
Your CBD Store – Ocean Springs, MS
BAY ST. LOUIS WINNER:
The Wedding Collection
The Wedding Collection is a full-service bridal experience offering everything from the planning to the dress. Its planning services include full-service coordination, month-of coordination and wedding styling. The bridal gown salon offers a VIP appointment in bridal styling with a large collection of gowns, veils and accessories.
104 Highway 90, Bay St. Louis
Bay St. Louis FINALISTS:
100 Men Hall
200 North Beach
Amada Senior Care
Bay Town Inn
Cuz’s Old Town Oyster Bar & Grill
Dan B’s Restaurant & Bar
Gulf Coast Community Federal Credit Union
HL Raymond Properties
John McDonald Realty
L’Avenir Medical Spa
Serious Bread LLC
Southgroup Insurance – Gulf Coast
The French Potager
Building Behaviors Counseling Services LLC
Building Behaviors Counseling Services LLC focuses on engaging, empowering and advocating for clients through a holistic and integration-of-care approach. The business is dedicated to providing high-quality mental health services that support an individual’s ability to thrive and benefit in day-to-day life.
2550 Marshall Road Suite 300, Biloxi
Beacon Insurance Services, Inc.
Biloxi Bicycle Works
Brent Harrell Insurance, LLC
Brice Pediatric Dental Specialist
D. Batia Interiors LLC
Dirt Busters Mobile Detailing
Exclusive Dining & Catering Co.
First Command Financial Services
Furniture Galore & More
Grant’s for Her
Gulf Coast Training & Education Services, LLC
Jacked Up Coffee Bar
Le Cafe’ Beignet
Luckies Furniture Warehouse
Mississippi Roots, LLC
North Bay Physical Therapy
PhenomAFit Fitness Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts
Southern Bound Book Shop
Sweet Stuff Inc
Taco Sombrero Biloxi
The Law Office of Leigha Malone, PLLC
The Threaded Cork
Memorial Woodland Village Nursing Center
Woodland Village is a 134-bed, privately owned and locally operated continuous care retirement community with a certified Alzheimer’s dementia unit. The Center provides services ranging from independent living to skilled nursing and rehabilitation care. The campus is positioned on a beautiful 19-acre piece of property in Diamondhead
5427 Gex Road, Diamondhead
Recipero Massage and Wellness
Barre 228 at Nancy’s School of Dance
Barre 228 is a barre-inspired aerobic class focusing on isometric conditioning that targets all muscle groups while keeping your heart rate elevated safely, followed by extensive stretching that lengthens your muscles while improving overall health and wellness.
1101 Lamey Bridge Road, D’Iberville
1st Franklin Financial
Cafe New Orleans
Gulf Coast Community Federal Credit Union
Pepe’s Bosque Mexican Grill
Style Encore D’Iberville
Delo’s Heavenly House of Coffee LLC
Delo’s Heavenly House of Coffee serves up the best coffee in Gautier six days a week. From friends who attend Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to local business owners and residents to the workers at Huntington Ingalls Industries, patrons stop in for breakfast, lunch or any time for delicious coffee, pastries and homemade sandwiches. Delo’s has been in business for 15 years and counting.
3880 Gautier Vancleave Road, Gautier
facebook.com: Delo’s Heavenly House of Coffee
First Federal Savings & Loan
Jason Pilger Hyundai
Jerry Lee’s Grocery Inc
Tenesha & Company
That Gumbo Life
Heritage House Gifts
Heritage House is an independent gift shop in Gulfport that carries pottery, candles, jewelry, china and other fine gifts — including Mississippi-made products — and also hosts an extensive bridal registry. A premier Coast shopping destination for over 15 years, Heritage House was purchased in 2018 by Stacy Pair and Julie Pair Gainey, who strive to keep the traditions established by the previous owners.
738 E. Pass Road, Gulfport
facebook.com/Heritage House Gifts Gulfport MS
A Pet’s Memory Pet Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc.
AGJ Systems and Networks Inc.
Alterations By Chris
Avl Wealthcare LLC
Baudier’s Flooring LLC
Bay Pest Control
Compton & Son Appliance LLC and Outdoor Living Center
Educate & Celebrate
Goldin Metals, Inc.
Jackson’s Discount Pharmacy
Jonathan Haynes Ministries & JH Consulting
La Passion Artisan Chocolates
Mighty Men Movers MS
Mississippi Mercantile Company
Panache Apparel & Accessories, Inc.
Pass Road Mini Storage
Pass the Juice
Pav & Broome Fine Jewelry
Polished Salon & Spa
S.F. Alman, Ltd
State Farm Eaton Insurance
Stevenson Elite Renovations
Wildflower Catering and Events
Lazy Magnolia Brewery
Lazy Magnolia is Mississippi’s oldest packaging brewery and has been offering locally brewed beer to Mississippians since its founding in September of 2003. Lazy Magnolia is dedicated to providing the best possible products through its tireless efforts, its superior motivation and its Southern heritage.
7030 Roscoe Turner Road, Kiln
Coastal Hardware & Rental Co.
Dempsey’s Seafood & Steak
Jourdan River Steamer
The Barn at Love Farms
LONG BEACH WINNER:
EjR Photography has served the Gulf Coast for 13 years by allowing people to see themselves “in the most splendid, honest way,” says owner and photographer Heather Rafferty-Phillips.
“You are all extraordinary,” she adds, “and I dedicate myself to showcasing that in your day-to-day (lives) or the big moments that happen once in a lifetime.”
Long Beach Finalists:
A Southern Bagel Company
Bacchus Wine & Liquor
Beach Dawgs NY Hot Dog Cart
Coastal House Washing
Harbor View Cafe
Lois’ Flower Shop
Long Beach Nutrition
Sister Swank Boutique
Steve’s Marina Restaurant
Brady’s Steaks and Seafood
Brady’s Steaks and Seafood has been operating for close to four years, serving up a variety of dishes from steaks and seafood to pastas and its specialty chargrilled oysters. Brady’s also offers a full-service bar and year-round outdoor dining.
3801 Magnolia St., Pascagoula
Action Printing Center Inc
Crown Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Fiat
Estabrook Ford Nissan
Gary Smith Agency
Navigator Credit Union
Outrigger Bar & Grill
Paradise Deli & Grill
Seaman & Associates
The Cornerstone Restaurant
The Sandy Pelican
Wiggins Law Firm
PASS CHRISTIAN WINNER:
Savory Roots has been serving the Gulf Coast for over four years. The company offers weekly meals delivered to your doorstep for time management and healthy portion control, as well as full-service catering and dining options in its restaurant for those seeking a delicious meal.
6340 Kiln Delisle Road, Pass Christian
Pass Christian Finalists:
Bacchus On The Beach
Cat Island Coffee House and Pass Christian Bookstore
Cook’s Day Off
K Pavoloni & Company
Pass Christian Books
Pass Christian Olive Oils And Vinegars
Cigars in the Pass
Robin’s Nest In The Pass
Shaggy’s Pass Harbor
Uncle Joes Pizza & Wings
Wild at Heart Rescue Inc.
Wild at Heart Rescue Inc. was founded in 2012. The nonprofit rescues, rehabilitates and releases injured, ill or orphaned Indigenous Mississippi wildlife. Wild at Heart also provides educational programs and works diligently to ensure wildlife conservation and to help maintain natural wildlife habitats.
16020 Larue Road, Vancleave
Georgia’s Corner Market
The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint
Vancleave Family Medical
The Rum Kitchen
This unique eatery offers a friendly, relaxed environment and serves the juiciest burgers, fresh seafood, craft cocktails and much more. Guests can enjoy seven 65-inch TV screens, a kid-friendly atmosphere, outstanding customer service, free parking, daily happy hour and monthly special events featuring flavorful cuisine and original craft cocktails. Rum Kitchen was the 2019 state winner of the Restaurant Neighbor Award for outstanding community service.
324 Highway 90, Waveland
facebook: Rum Kitchen Waveland
Bay Carpet & Flooring, Inc
Da Kitchen Too
Ebony Sage Apothecary & Healing Center
Kirk’s Wheel & Tire Pros
Tony’s Seafood Restaurant
Waveland Candle Company