Lunch customers finish their meals Thursday at Clay’s House of Pig on Veterans Boulevard in Tupelo.

TUPELO • Tupelo is in the running for the next small-town “foodie destination” in the South, according to a national publication.

Forbes cites several restaurants in Tupelo as being worthy of a visit, whether you’re enjoying barbecue in a bait shop or a farm-to-table meal.

The eateries included are Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen, Clay’s House of Pig, King Chicken, Cooking as a First Language classes and Blue Canoe. Also mentioned are Queen’s Reward Meadery, Johnnie’s Drive-In and PoPsy.

Mitch McCamey is the chef/owner of KOK and chef/partner in King Chicken, two of the top five restaurants cited.

“I think it’s really cool to be recognized,” McCamey said. “Tupelo is just booming. It’s really nice to be a part of this movement. Tupelo is just a special place and all the growth here is inspiring. I’m just glad to be mentioned.”

Jennie Bradford Curlee, public relations and international sales director for the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, said her job is to help make sure the Tupelo story is told.

“On Aug. 14-17, we brought a group of writers from different publications in to tell our story,” she said. “We took them to different restaurants, we went to the birthplace, they did the Elvis driving tour, we went to a Down on Main concert. We wanted to showcase what’s unique about Tupelo in the culinary scene and with live music.”

One of the writers, travel writer Brittany Anas, wrote the story for Forbes.

“To have our story told on a national scale is must amazing,” Curlee said.

Clay Coleman is the owner of C.H.O.P., a bait shop turned barbecue joint.

“I don’t know how you spell the happy dance I’m doing right now – shaking my booty,” Coleman said. “I’m super jacked about it. It’s nice every time to be mentioned in a national publication like Forbes, but I’m just as tickled when my customers like me and put something on Facebook.”

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