Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Funeral brownies, fantastic steaks: Old general store in Mississippi a true treat

Kara Kimbrough
Special to Mississippi Clarion Ledger

I love an historic restaurant and H.D. Gibbes & Sons in Learned is one of the best. The combination general merchandise store and restaurant is now operated by fourth-generation family members.

Built in the late 1800s, the store was the central place for residents to shop for food and supplies. Like many small towns, Learned’s population dwindled over the years to less than 100 residents. But things improved in 2009.

The Gibbes family began serving grilled steaks, lamb chops and seafood at long tables inside the rustic store, quickly earning a stellar reputation that has attracted more than a few well-known diners. 

H.D. Gibbes & Sons, a combination general merchandise store and restaurant in Learned, Miss., was built in the late 1800s.

Today, Gibbes fans visit from around the state and country for a experience that hearkens back to a simpler life when sitting on the porch and talking after dinner was a regular occurrence. Old time atmosphere aside, Gibbes' food rivals those served in far more upscale surroundings.  

About those surroundings. Don’t expect soft music, white tablecloths and fine china. Once inside, you’ll be seated, not at individual tables, but at a long wooden one.

Paper plates, paper towels and beverages in a bottle contribute to the casual atmosphere. An old-time cash register is still used to ring up sales. Something to keep in mind if you go – Gibbes doesn't accept cards, only cash. 

Black bottom pie, peanut butter in crock:Savor history, good food at Weidmann's

Now, about the food. The menu is quite succinct, so don’t expect a multitude of choices. However, if you’re looking for steak, seafood, pork or lamb, you’ll find everything you need, along with delicious home side dishes. 

I’ll start with the steaks because, let’s be honest, the reason behind most visits to Gibbes is to enjoy one of the restaurant’s famous grilled steaks. There’s something for everyone, ranging from the smallest visitor to the more fervent steak-lover.

A steak topped with grilled shrimp is a favorite selection at H.D. Gibbes & Sons in Learned, Miss.

Choose from among the nine-ounce filet ($35), 16-ounce ribeye ($33) or 14-ounce New York strip ($32). Perfectly seasoned, char-grilled steaks that taste like they emerged from a backyard barbecue – but only better – make for a memorable steak dinner that will rival anything you’ve sampled in much larger and fancier locations. 

I have to confess that I was surprised to see lamb chops served in Learned, but that’s exactly what you’ll find on Gibbes’ menu. A rack of New Zealand chops ($35) is grilled to perfection and once again, resembles in both appearance and taste offerings from upscale restaurants. 

Other selections include a thick-cut pork chop ($25), grilled scallops ($27), fresh fish of the day ($25), yellowfin tuna ($25), fresh Atlantic salmon ($25), grilled shrimp ($25) and seafood salad ($25). 

Except for the salad, each entrée is served with two sides. Selections include potato or spinach casserole, roasted green beans and regular or sweet baked potato with toppings. 

Dining in Mississippi:Revel in this town's Southern charm, then top your venture at Stacy's Skillet

Save room for the funeral brownie

It’s hard to save room for dessert, but at Gibbes, it’s a necessity. Perhaps the most famous offering is a funeral brownie. It’s a thick, decadent brownie topped with fudge sauce, whipped cream and ice cream.

My favorite dessert is strawberry shortcake made with fresh pound cake, whipped cream and juicy strawberries. Other desserts include bread pudding, buttermilk pie, carrot cake cupcakes and lemon cheesecake. 

For a trip down memory lane to a simpler time as well as to sample some great food, H.D. Gibbes & Sons won't disappoint.

Kara Kimbrough is a freelance food and travel writer from Mississippi. Contact her at

If you go

  • What: H.D. Gibbes & Sons
  • Where: 140 Main St., Learned
  • Hours: 5-8:30 p.m. Thursday; 9 p.m.-until Friday; 4:30-9 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday– Wednesday. ash only; no cards accepted. 
  • Phone: 601-885-6833