story and photographs by Chris Dearman
When I learned the burger I was about to eat at Eat Drink Love Catering had blueberry pepper jam on it, I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect. Turns out, it was so good that I came back the next day for another!
Although Eat Drink Love Catering began three years ago as a corporate catering business in an Ocean Springs doctor’s office complex, earlier this year it moved to a storefront restaurant inside a boutique hotel, The Roost. Owners, Lauren and Seth Braden, and their staff have been wowing customers ever since with a unique menu that always has fresh ingredients and homemade components.
“We wanted to expand and have a space where we can actually enjoy our customers instead of them walking out the door and taking it home,” Lauren says. “We wanted to do it family style with big tables to have people come together. We like it because someone will end up coming in for lunch by themselves and they’ll end up sitting with six other people, chit-chatting and staying for two hours.”
Their ever-changing menu is written in chalk on three wall plaques showcasing small bites, sandwiches, salads, lunch specials, take-and-bake freezer items, and my personal favorite, the charcuterie tray, which includes seasonal meats, fruits and cheeses. Vegetables and specialty meats are cut every day and contain no additives or fillers, and they make their own sauces in-house and try to keep everything as affordable as possible for customers.
If you are in the mood for a salad, they have a variety of options such as the “Signature House Salad,” which comes with feta, red onion, tomato, cucumber, artichoke hearts and a house balsamic, or the “Power Salad,” which includes feta, artichoke hearts, cranberries, pecans, avocado, red onion and balsamic. Grilled chicken or seared salmon can be added to either one, and the house chicken salad also is an extremely popular menu choice as well.
Their small bites offerings includes a turnip green and artichoke dip, as well as a fantastic shrimp scampi dip made with local Gulf shrimp, garlic, bread crumbs, butter, red chili flakes and Parmesan cheese. Both are complemented with crusty baguette slices.
Sandwiches come with organic chips and freshly made chocolate chip oatmeal or white chocolate cranberry cookies. I will warn you in advance that it will be hard to choose from their pesto turkey wrap, a pimento grilled cheese, a roast beef baguette made with honey horseradish and provolone, or the ham and Brie with caramelized onion or peach jam.
The 100 percent grass-fed beef burgers served on a jalapeño cheese bread bun also are a standout. I opted for a burger special they were serving that came with spring mix, Brie and blueberry pepper jelly. Everything melted together perfectly with a mix of a little bit of sweetness and a little bit of hot. It was absolutely outstanding!
While enjoying your meal, don’t forget to order from a list of specialty waters, sodas and cocktails. If you need something extra cool, Seth and Lauren recently added a frozen drink machine that features a lime and coconut concoction they learned to make in the Virgin Islands where they met. Proceeds of this cocktail go to Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey relief.
For those wanting to experience the goodness of Eat Drink Love Catering at home, freezers are kept stocked with take-and-bake meals for customers on the go. Other items include soups, dips, aged prime beef and specialty meats such as bison, boar and New Zealand lamb chops — there is something for everyone! Their most popular items are homemade chicken pot pie, and the delicious double-sauced lasagna, which is made with a creamy béchamel and tomato gravy meat sauce that takes three days of simmering to bring to perfection.
Be sure to keep Eat Drink Love in mind for your next special event. They can handle full service catering anywhere from corporate lunches and showers, to largescale events and weddings.
The restaurant/catering business is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. where they feature live acoustic music in the courtyard in the afternoons. Due to experiencing heavy dining traffic, plans are in place to open more locations along the Coast, and it’s also recommended to visit after the lunchtime rush. To keep up with daily specials, check their Facebook page.