If you are looking for a sophisticated, yet casual, high-quality Southern dining experience, look no further than Cornerstone Restaurant.
Owner Tommy Jackson opened the eatery in Pascagoula in 1997 as a small sandwich shop and deli, then he expanded the menu with seafood and steaks shortly thereafter. Jackson moved his restaurant over the bridge to Gautier in January of last year with a fresh new look and two dining rooms.
“For over 24 years, through different names, locations, and menus, one thing has remained constant at Cornerstone: our commitment to excellence,” Jackson says. “That commitment starts when you walk through our front door. Our kitchen staff has a combined 100-plus years of experience preparing incredible food for multi-generational families. Their skills are showcased in each dish that emerges from our kitchen.”
The Cornerstone menu showcases the flavors of Mississippi and highlights the Coast with selections like Gulf shrimp, Mississippi farm-raised catfish, coastal oysters, crab claws, chicken, po’boys, half-pound burgers, salads, appetizers and more. The restaurant also is the home of the “greater tater,” a three-pound spud packed with turkey, ham, cheese, bacon, onions, mushrooms, sour cream and butter that is a meal on its own. A vegetarian version also is available.
On my visit, I started with the backlash shrimp, a popular dish featuring deep-fried shrimp in a light flour breading, tossed in sweet and spicy sauce and served over a bed of lettuce, green onions and tomatoes. After enjoying the sweet heat, I can see why they are a favorite of the Cornerstone regulars.
For my entrée, I had the daddy’s catch from the seafood specialties portion of the menu, which is grilled or blackened catch of the day fish topped with grilled shrimp and a delightful Cajun sauce and served with grilled vegetables, regular or sweet potato fries or a baked potato that can be upgraded to a greater tater. My blackened flounder was cooked perfectly and paired well with the rich sauce and tender, well-seasoned shrimp.
A visit to Cornerstone wouldn’t be complete without experiencing their newest addition, a full-service bar called The Launch. Besides beer and wine, the restaurant’s expert mixologists can serve more than a dozen specialty cocktails. The multitude of televisions throughout The Launch make it ideal for any sports fan.
A highlight of my visit, as I consider myself a bloody mary connoisseur, was Cornerstone’s bloody mary menu, which offers the opportunity to customize your cocktail by letting you build your own from over 30 different options. Pick what you want, and the bartenders will make it for you. You can keep it simple or make it a meal by including items such as an 8-ounce sirloin, chicken tenders, grilled shrimp, stuffed crab, crab legs and claws and more. Build it up high, and it’s the perfect social media photo opportunity. I definitely will be back to build more.
“We aspire to create a warm and memorable dining experience for our customers,” Jackson says. “Our employees do their best to make each and every customer, locals and tourists alike, feel welcome and comfortable. We want to make everyone who visits our restaurant feel special.”
Cornerstone Restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Chicken tender, fried shrimp or fried catfish lunch specials are available every day from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and there’s also a kid’s menu. Be sure to check out the dessert case at the entrance, where you will find a variety of sweet treats. The turtle cheesecake I took home was divine.
IF YOU GO
332 Highway 90, Gautier