By Andrew Alexander, DIG Sports Editor
Mother Nature canceled LSU’s 2015 season opener against McNeese State, and now the Tigers head to Starkville to battle the Mississippi State Bulldogs in their season and Southeastern conference opener.
During football season, the sleepy Mississippi college town transforms into a SEC football hotbed, filled with good times and thousands of cowbells.
Traveling to away football games can be an intimidating experience for novices. Despite boasting the “Starkvegas” moniker, outsiders may encounter difficulty unearthing the best dining, nightlife and entertainment options in Starkville.
To help out, Baton Rouge native and current Mississippi State student Patrick Ivey provided his keen insight to all the sights, sounds and tastes LSU fans should experience during their trip to Starkville.
The Little Dooey
Serving delicious BBQ smoked meats and Mississippi farm-raised catfish since 1985, The Little Dooey is a Starkville institution. The extensive menu includes a variety of shrimp, catfish, burgers and sandwiches, but the main attraction is the BBQ, which is gently massaged with their signature rub and slow-smoked to perfection.
Open Monday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
Open Sunday: 10:30 am-2:00 pm
Insider Ivey Tip: Try the Texas Toast BBQ sandwich. It’s succulent, smoked meat sandwiched between two pieces of Texas Toast and topped with BBQ sauce and coleslaw. Hands down, the best meal in Starkville.
For a more upscale dining experience, check out the Veranda in downtown Starkville. Featuring delicious fried chicken soul food lunches, high quality Angus steaks and an extensive wine selection, the Veranda is a “more progressive dining experience” than your typical Starkville fare.
Open Friday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 1:00 am
Open Sunday: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Insider Ivey Tip: Start your meal off with the cheese logs, available in mozzarella and pepper jack.
The Bulldog Bash
Mississippi’s largest free outdoor concert event is your best bet for some Friday night entertainment in Starkville. The Bulldog Bash is a free event held annually before one of Mississippi State’s home SEC football games. Thrown by the MSU Student Association, the Bulldog Bash is held in the Cotton District and typically draws around 35,000 visitors. This year’s music lineup includes the Local Natives, Misterwives and X Ambassadors and begins at 7:00 p.m.
Insider Ivey Tip: Don’t forget to sample some of the delicious cuisine from the various food and drink vendors setup throughout the Cotton District during the concert.
The Cotton District
The site of Friday’s Bulldog Bash, the Cotton District is the heartbeat of Starkville’s nightlife. A mixed-use development featuring an assortment of bars and restaurants, including Drifters, Gringo’s, Two Brothers and StaggerIn, the Cotton District provides ample options for some pre and postgame festivities.
Insider Ivey Tip: Eat, drink and be merry. Take the opportunity to bar hop and explore all the options the Cotton District has to offer.
The Tigers and Bulldogs kickoff at 8:15 p.m., which means there’s plenty of time for tailgating Saturday. The most popular tailgate spot on Mississippi State’s campus is the Junction. Located right on the south side of Davis Wade Stadium, the Junction is filled with hundreds of tents and thousands of Bulldog fans awaiting to see their beloved Maroon and White take the field. One of the most popular traditions on gamedays is the Dawg Walk, a pregame walk through the center of the Junction by the MSU football team and led by the Famous Maroon Band. With any luck, maybe you’ll spot MSU super fan Steven “Stingray” Ray.
Insider Ivey Tip: If you choose to enjoy an adult beverage, pour it in a cup. Nothing ruins a fun day of tailgating faster than a run-in with Starkville’s finest.
Win or lose, road trips during football season will become fond, lasting memories you reminiscence about for years to come. Have fun in Starkvegas this weekend and remember: FEAR. THE. BELLS. CLANGA CLANGA CLANGA!