From staff reports
The Meridian Star
Sunday's opening episode of the new Food Network competition series, "Food Court Wars," will showcase cuisine with a Southern flair from the Hospitality State – Mississippi.
Two teams will put their culinary skills to the test for the chance to open a restaurant rent-free for one year in a mall food court – Meridian's Bonita Lakes Mall for the series' opening episode, which premieres at 9 p.m. The show is hosted by Tyler Florence.
Cookoffs were held earlier this year at the MSU Riley Center and the historic antebellum home Merrehope. From those tryouts, two teams were chosen:
• Thomas and Mary Jordan's Suck the Shuck Hot Tamales. Decades-in-the-making to achieve the flavors reminiscent of Thomas' Mississippi Delta childhood, the are sold at a Shell gas station in Clinton.
• Childhood friends Erika Lipe and Stevo McCain of Batesville (who now work in Oxford-based restaurants) have achieved a following with their signature New Orleans-style Po'boy.
In Sunday's episode, the teams will have to create a concept within 48 hours. They will have one business day to outsell the other team.
Each episode is self-contained. Viewers will find out the Mississippi winner Sunday night. Subsequent shows travel to malls in Spartanburg, S.C., Wausau, Wisc., Midland, Mich., Burnsville, Minn., and Charleston, S.C.