Monday, July 31, 2017

Magnolia Grill, a Casino and More River Traffic

Just one more posting from our visit to Natchez Mississippi…

This is a view downriver from the Under-the-Hill neighborhood.  The view shows the Natchez Mississippi/Vidalia Louisiana twin cantilever bridges over the broad Mississippi River.  We crossed them headed west to our next major stop…

These bridges are all used by US Highways 65, 84 and 425.  They aren’t exactly twins as the oldest span, (now carrying the westbound traffic), was built in 1940.  The newer eastbound span was completed in 1988.  These bridges are about 4,200 feet long…about 8 tenths of a mile.  At 125 feet above the water, these are the tallest bridges in Mississippi.

Looking south along the riverfront, this unassuming building is the Magnolia Bluffs Casino.  Via a steep road, the casino is just below the bluff where the main downtown area of Natchez is situated.  The casino has over 450 slot machines, 16 table games and a live poker room as well as 3 restaurants.  The associated Magnolia Bluffs Hotel is up on top of the bluff on Canal Street. 
FYI…I actually walked out of the casino with more money than I had when I went in!  I was up $18.50!  

For more information on the casino and hotel, go to   

What can I say!  I like boats, ships, cars, trucks, planes and trains…and I don’t get to see too many ships and big boats in East Tennessee.
This is the “Bettye M. Jenkins”.  She was moored across the river from Natchez in Vidalia Louisiana.  As a matter of fact, she was built in 1959 by the Vidalia Dock and Storage Co., Inc.  She is small in comparison with most of the towboats I saw…measuring only 58 feet long with a beam of 20 feet.  Her original name was the “Shelia Ann Parker”. 

This is the “Vidalia Dock”.  This 100 foot long towboat was built in Greenville Mississippi back in 1968.  She has had quite a history, having been sold to 7 different owners over the years.  Her original name was the “Bessie Burton”, then the “Harewood”, later the “Senator Sam” and finally the “Dana Jo” before she was acquired and renamed again by the Vidalia Dock and Storage Company.  She burned in 1975 and was rebuilt in Ohio.  Then she burned again in 1977 and was rebuilt a second time, this time in West Virginia.

Perhaps much to my reader’s satisfaction, I couldn’t identify this very large towboat that was seriously in need of fresh paint… But it did get me wondering. Just how big do these towboats get?


Appropriately enough, the largest diesel towboat on the Mississippi River is the “M/V Mississippi”, which is operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.   

The “Mississippi” was built in 1993.  It’s 241 feet long, 58 feet wide and it has a shallow draft of only 8 feet.  It has a crew of 36.  Most of the time it’s moving barges, equipment and supplies in support of mat sinking operations.  It also serves as an inspection boat for the Mississippi River Commission during a high- and low-water inspection trip each year.  Commissioners hold meetings at river towns in the boat's hearing room which can seat 115 people. Its dining room can seat 85 people. The “Mississippi” has 22 staterooms and can handle 150 passengers.

One final towboat… This is the “Paula A. Fortier”, a “Z Drive” 100 foot towboat owned by the Southern Towing Company based in Memphis Tennessee.  She was built in 2013.  Southern Towing Company owns and operates 26 towboats ranging in size from 90 feet to 147 feet. 

Enough about towboats… On to the food!

This little unassuming restaurant in Natchez’s Under-the-Hill neighborhood is the Magnolia Grill.  Although it looks very old, it was actually constructed in 1990 by the family who is responsible for the preservation of most of the buildings on Silver Street.  The restaurant was built to look like the saloon that originally occupied this same spot.

The dining room has a full bar but, like its neighboring restaurant, The Camp, Magnolia Grill is very casual.  The big difference is all about the menus...

For those who enjoy outdoor dining, Magnolia Grill does offer a screened in porch that overlooks the Mississippi River.

Laurie started out with a Magnolia Salad with ranch dressing.  This salad included baby greens, cherry tomatoes, Mandarin oranges, boiled eggs and shredded parmesan cheese.  She really enjoyed it!

There were several salad options but one dinner salad on the menu was really out of the ordinary.  It was the Fried Crawfish Spinach Salad.  It consists of lightly breaded crawfish tails, fried golden brown resting on a bed of fresh spinach with sliced mushrooms, apple wood smoked bacon and toasted pecans.

For my side, I had one of my favorites…grilled asparagus.  Despite the fact that the ends were quite large, they were also tender so nothing went to waste! 

You may have noticed that we skipped an appetizer.  That was because we’d had a snack earlier in the afternoon.  However, Magnolia Grill offers several options as starters.  These include: Bacon-Jalapeno Cheese Fries; Crabmeat Crimini Stuffed Mushrooms; Fried Green Tomatoes (topped with crawfish tails, shrimp and a Louisiana hot sauce hollandaise); Spinach and Artichoke Dip with toasted pita chips; Cream Cheese Sausage Rotel; Bayou Egg Rolls, and; Fried Dill Pickles. 

If we hadn’t had a snack earlier, I would have had to try the Bayou Egg Rolls.  They are stuffed with smoked chicken, tasso and sausage jambalaya, and they’re served with a sweet chili dipping sauce.

Laurie’s main dish was this nice order of BBQ Shrimp. ($19.95) They had a nice flavorful bite to them and they were cooked perfectly.

Other than the entrees, other options on the menu include 3 different soups, a number of hamburgers and a long list of sandwiches and “PoBoys”.

Our meals also came with this generous serving of crusty bread…a necessity for dipping in all the sauce that came with our meals!  The bowl contained Laurie’s side of Cheesy Grits.  They were very nice…

My entrée was very much like Laurie’s.  I had the shrimp and grits. ($24.95) The shrimp were great and I really liked the grits in the sauce…lots of flavor!

The list of other available entrees at Magnolia Grill is extensive.  There are steaks, surf and turf, beef medallions with crabmeat and mushrooms, grilled duck breast, chicken, Alfredo style pasta, jambalaya, pork tenderloin, catfish, crawfish, pan fried redfish and a daily fish special. 

Well…we probably should have stopped eating but when we heard that Magnolia Grill offered Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce, ($6.00), we surrendered our common sense and decided to share a dessert.  This was a scrumptious comfort food style treat!    

Service was pleasant and the food was both nicely presented and very palette pleasing!  Magnolia Grill is located in the Under-the-Hill area of Natchez at 49 Silver Street.  Phone: 601-446-7670.  This restaurant is open on Sundays.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Dear Dave, This looks like a nice place to enjoy a meal looking over the Mississippi, what could be better. So glad you both enjoyed your meals. Best, Catherine

  2. I love the water and all the views, Dave! And a screened in porch with river views while dining would suit me just fine! The food looks delicious! Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Woo hoo! Great post, Dave!
    I grew up in Louisville, close to the Ohio River. My mother worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and our family occasionally went with her to The McAlpine Locks and Dam in Louisville to watch the towboats and all pass through. Loved watching it all and other river traffic, very fascinating and I miss the river. Those guys definitely ate good too. What I don't miss are the bridges. Scary to me and this one in Natchez looks way too long for me, like the one in Louisville.
    The Vidalia Dock looks pretty majestic after having fires and so many owners.
    The food looks good, and esp because of the river view while dining. What a life by the river! Thanks for the post, interesting and informative! Have a fun week!

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