Claiborne Hill Grocery
The grocery store you'll want to go to when you're hungry: chow down on a great selection of fresh deli menu items and then do your shopping!
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
“Breakfast is a huge part of our business in the deli,” said Elizabeth Acquistapace, who oversees the kitchen at the family-owned store. The Acquistapace family also has a supermarket in Picayune. All five of the Acquistapace siblings, including her husband, Ethan, are involved in the stores, from the building design to the day-to-day operation.
After the breakfast rush, the staff starts preparing the daily hot lunch specials, which also bring in a hungry crowd. On a recent Saturday, the choices were barbecue ribs, pork sausage, brisket and red beans along with sides including fried okra, smothered cabbage and sweet potato casserole with praline topping. The red beans, made from the Acquistapace family recipe, are flavored with store-smoked sausage, bacon, and ham hocks.
Sandwiches (including muffulettas) are popular. Construction workers favor the hamburger combo with cheese and a side of fries.
If you want a generously stuffed poboy—served hot or cold—you can choose from oysters, shrimp, catfish or roast beef. Elizabeth said the roast beef with rich gravy has a big following. “It’s a whole fresh eye of round roast that simmers for hours. It’s truly a homemade roast beef,” she said.
The French bread for the poboys is baked in the store but here’s a tip: if you’re a fan of crispy Leidenheimer bread, just ask for it.
A variety of pasta dishes provide an alternative to fried foods. “We’re making our own fresh pasta with free range eggs and fresh semolina,” Elizabeth said. The family patriarch bought the three pasta machines in Italy. The pasta is served with sautéed zucchini, Italian sausage and homemade pesto.
Everything sold is made in the store, and there’s enough variety that the menu stays basically the same, though sometimes you’ll find meatloaf or chicken and dumplings. The variety gets smaller in the evening but you can still get a satisfying supper up until 8 p.m. or so.
A recent summertime lunch treat tells a lot about the deli’s use of seasonal fare. “We had a short Creole tomato season but we had some pretty hot house tomatoes,” said Elizabeth. “So who can pass up a tomato sandwich on white bread with mayo, salt and pepper?”
Even though the price of ingredients fluctuates, one thing is steady at the deli: the prices. The 6-inch roast beef poboy is $5.99. A breakfast plate is $2.49. The lunch plates start at $5.99. “We try to keep it as reasonable as we can to give our customers good value,” she said.
There are healthy options too, with a full salad bar in the back of the store (by the seafood counter). For $4.99 a pound you can make a meal-sized salad with fresh fixings - including chicken and on occasion, boiled shrimp.
Breakfast and lunch is prepared seven days a week. You can call ahead (228-466-2610) to see what’s cooking and enjoy your meal at the counter in the front of the store where there’s complimentary Community Coffee. And check out the freezer section next to the deli for chicken and Andouille gumbo, bisques, soups, and casseroles.