Leland is a Delta town of just over 7,000 good souls, but it is also the home of one of the state’s best restaurants. Vince’s opened less than a handful of years ago, but it has been wowing the crowds since its doors opened. Chef Will Gault has cobbled together a menu that’s a stunner and turned a building that had been vacant for 20 years into a beautiful culinary destination.
In fact, the original Vince’s was a 24/7 café catering to cotton farmers and businessmen who flocked to this once cotton-rich town. When the agro-economy faltered, it closed, and did not find success again until Gault’s unbridled enthusiasm and talent in the kitchen revitalized it into the charming eatery it is today.
When the doors first opened, there were seats for 55 diners, but the restaurant stayed jammed, and far too many were turned away. Gault purchased the building next door, which had been vacant for 30 years, and now there’s room for 150. But even with the additional seating, this place is often packed.
Ambiance and charm aside, this place works because the menu is tight, focusing on Gulf seafood and just a spattering of other favorites. You can’t mistake Vince’s for anything but a Southern restaurant, but there are Italian hints and Creole and Cajun overtones. Gault also goes to some lengths to serve local produce and even buys his prawns from a Delta source. The tomato and corn relish that he serves atop his killer crab cakes is not only homemade but came from a garden nourished by the rich soil of the Delta.
There are five ways to start your meal, and the aforementioned crab cakes are a top choice. For your entrée there is an 8-ounce filet or a 15-ounce ribeye to choose from, and you can top each with jumbo lump crab in a cream sauce, mushrooms, artichoke hearts in garlic butter, crawfish tails in a Creole cream sauce, or garnished with four perfectly cooked jumbo shrimp.
The andouille-encrusted red fish is the house favorite, but the blackened redfish with crawfish in a cream sauce is a special that tops the list as well. Delta prawns and polenta from Grit Girl, an Oxford company, would be a very wise choice, as would be the pan-seared duck breast served with polenta and balsamic port sauce. Serious attention should also be given to the veal cannelloni, and if you’re lucky enough to visit when the fried green tomatoes and lump crab are served, jump on it! There are six nightly specials to choose from and none to go wrong with.
Vince’s is a jewel on the Blues Highway that should not be missed. The fame of this roadway that meanders its way through the Delta is growing by leaps and bounds, and culinary entrepreneurs like Chef Gault are making an international name for themselves and our lovely state. If you are a foodie of any mettle at all, Vince’s should be calling your name.
Vince’s is located at 207 N. Main Street, Leland, MS
Open Thursday – Sunday, 5:30 – 10:00 p.m.