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Elvie's (right) in Belhaven Town Center./Photos by Jack Weatherly/MBJ

Elvie’s keeps it simple and elegant

Cody McCain, co-owner and general manager.

By JACK WEATHERLY

There’s a good reason why Cody McCain says: “Everybody is kind of in our living room.”

That’s because Elvie’s, which opened on Tuesday, is built in the bungalow style, he said.

Or rebuilt. The original 1,850-square-foot house at 809 Manship St. in what is now the expanding Belhaven Town Center had been vacant for a decade and was in “terrible shape,” McCain said.

So it was razed and the exterior was rebuilt in that style.

The cottage reflects the downsize style popular in Europe, McCain said.

Which reflects the fact that co-owner and chef Hunter Evans concentrated on the French techniques when he was attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Belhaven Town Center making strides to maturity

Evans was also influenced by his grandmother, Elveretta “Elvie” Good, who lived in the very Gallic New Orleans, where her grandson visited her, enjoyed her cooking and was exposed to the legendary cuisine of the city.

Evans, 30, was sous chef at Lou’s Full-Serv in Belhaven before taking his present position.

Architect John Weaver, who has a number of Jackson-area restaurants in his portfolio, and designers Jonathan Shull and Bradley Adair brought the physical vision to reality. The décor is light, including the sturdy wooden chairs and tables and tambour covering on the bar — directed by Brandi Carter, who is also the sommelier — and the hostess station. A cushioned  banquette that wraps the dining space.

The menu is limited, which is not to say lacking. Its simplicity reflects the philosophy of the restaurant.

Its prices are simply moderate.

Carter made sure to take advantage of the spirits of Mississippi. Jackson-based Cathead Distillery’s vodka, honeysuckle and pecan-flavored, as well as its Hoodoo Chicory Liqueur. Queen’s Reward (made in Tupelo) blackberry mead is in there.

 

Hunter Evans plates a dish.

 

 

Cocktails are $8, ranging from Churchill’s Breakfast to Boozy Iced Coffee (with the Cathead pecan vodka and Hoodoo liqueur.) Wine by the glass (eight choices) is also eight bucks.

Entrees range from $15 for Cacio e Pepe pasta to $28 for Gulf Coast Bouillabaisse. (With Steak Frites at market price).

McCain, 28, worked for his father, Bob McCain, founder and president of Buffalo Peak Outfitters in Highland Village Shopping Center, after graduating from Mississippi State and with a business degree before shifting career direction.

Much of the food is Mississippi-sourced, which may help explain why the prices are not as high as they might be.

The produce comes from Two Dog Farms in Flora and a lot of the beef and pork is bought at Home Place Pastures at Como, whose animals are grass-fed.

Southern Coffee Services of Lexington provides the java, at $2 a cup.

The proof of the provisions is in the tasting.

Take a breakfast selection for example. The sausage patty was firm and lean. Grits, nutty and flavorful, is produced by Grit Girl of Oxford. Naturally, the two eggs were from free-range chickens. The biscuit was a good vehicle for housemade satsuma jam made from coastal-grown fruit, spread elegantly on a brass-and-wood butter knife.

That’s the Classic Americaine, $11.

Breakfast at the slightly misleading “all-day cafe” is from 7 a.m., till 2 p.m. After a two-hour break the shift is made toward the evening; dinner is served till 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and till 10 p.m. on Saturday. Doors are closed on Sundays.

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About Jack Weatherly