A panel of judges secretly visited restaurants across Mississippi, and when they sampled Cheryl’s Steakhouse in Ocean Springs, they named it the best steak in the state.
Owner Cheryl Hensarling collected the award Sunday in Jackson at the Dixie National Rodeo.
She knew her steakhouse was among the top five finalists in the search for the best steak in Mississippi.
“I didn’t expect to get first place,” she said.
Don’t look for steak sauce on the table, though, because the restaurant doesn’t serve it, Hensarling says.
“It’s all about the taste and the beef quality,” she said in a video after her win. The steak and the way it is seasoned and prepared are what swayed the judges.
“I’m the only steakhouse that was even nominated on the Coast,” she said. The others were mostly in Jackson and north.
Her customers aren’t surprised at the award.
“Something we already knew,” a regular at Cheryl’s posted on Facebook under the award that proclaimed Cheryl’s the best steak in Mississippi.
Hensarling has turned out a tasty steak for 22 years in Ocean Springs, not in a fancy building but in an unpretentious strip mall along U.S. 90.
She’s also been a good neighbor, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was a struggle for everybody,” she said. The shutdown left Cheryl’s with takeout only for months and now, when people are eager to try the best steak in the state, her occupancy remains at 50%.
She did what she could to help her customers and Ocean Springs residents, who were trying to stock up on food and supplies.
“The stores were running out of meat,” she said. Hensarling started ordering additional food from her suppliers like hand-cut steaks, chicken and ground beef, something she doesn’t use at the restaurant, and selling it at a low cost to her customers.
“Just tried to help the community,” she said.
Cheryl’s Steakhouse is at 1306 Bienville Blvd. in Ocean Springs. The restaurant is open from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 5-8:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday.