The Help ain't got anything on the sentimental backstory behind Miss Kate's Southern Kitchen. According to owner Charles Hude, the recipes for his Mississippi Marketplace comfort-food cart were gathered by his late grandmother, Kate Koestler, who left him a suitcase of ingredient lists and measurements scribbled on old bridge pads. He fried his way through the recipes from his mamaw's garden club, pulling out the keepers for his cart.

Excuse my very ungentlemanly prying, but a tale like this calls for verification. So I rang a few folks down in Vicksburg. After an extensive Koestler family history—and a brief debate about whether Good Protestant Barack Obama or a man who believes a very unbiblical story of Jesus preaching to Native Americans better serves the interests of our Christian nation—Hude's story checked out. Yessir, this is authentic grub from a town where part of O Brother, Where Art Thou? was filmed.

Miss Kate, rest her soul, made food that folks thought was "just heavenly." Mr. Hude isn't doing anything to sully her good name, even if he is frying his excellent chicken ($9.50 plate, $7 with waffle) off the bone to save time and selling an amaretto bacon muffin that I have strong suspicions did not originate in Mamaw's mixer.

The pulled pork sandwich ($7.50) is sauced far sweeter than I like, though it's exactly what they serve in Mississippi. A buttered and toasted brioche bun—rarer in Mississippi—is a nice touch, as is the fried pickle on the side. The biscuits are hot and fluffy, and Miss Bobbie's strawberry waffle ($7), which comes under a quilt of arugula, egg and bacon, is an entree and dessert all in one.

I've been told Miss Kate's most beloved dishes were actually her pineapple upside-down cake, ham stuffed with dressing, and peanut butter-coconut fudge. These were unavailable on this visit, but I'd stop back sometime

  • Order this: Southern fried chicken, with red beans and rice and mac ’n’ cheese ($9.50).
  • Best deal: Fried chicken and waffle ($7).
  • I’ll pass: Pulled pork sandwich ($7.50). 

EAt: Miss Kate's Southern Kitchen, 4233 N Mississippi Ave., 724-7878, Hours vary. $.