Inside: Walker's Drive-In
Jackson diners probably fall into one of two camps.
Either, A: You love Walker's Drive-In and would eat there all the time if you could, or, B: You've just never eaten at Walker's.
Few restaurants inspire the kind of fanatical following that Walker's enjoys, but, put quite simply, few restaurants have the same unwavering dedication to consistent quality and culinary excellence of Walker's executive chef Derek Emerson and his staff.
Emerson, a native of Beverly Hills, Calif., moved to Mississippi in 1987 and became enamored with Southern cuisine. After attending culinary school in Memphis, he returned to Jackson to help open Bravo!
Following a stint in Atlanta working as executive sous chef for the acclaimed Dick and Harry's, Emerson again returned to Jackson and served as executive chef for Schimmel's.
In 2001 the opportunity arose for him the acquire the defunct Walker's Drive-In, a former burger joint that is one of the oldest buildings in Fondren, the nieghborhood then undergoing revitalization.
Keeping its name and kitschy art deco color scheme, Emerson re-envisioned Walker's as a fine dining eatery with an easygoing Southern diner feel, and populated the menu with Southern-influenced creations like their signature tamale appetizer and delicious everything crusted #1 tuna entree.
In the past nine years Walker's has become Jackson's premier restaurant, wininng numerous local and national awards, including Metromix's own Best Restaurant award for 2010. Emerson was also recently selected as a semifinalist for Best Chef: South in the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards, which is the culinary profession's most prestigious honor.