Nick Wallace Opens Cafe at Two Museums

Jackson chef Nick Wallace has opened The Nissan Café by Nick Wallace Culinary at the Two Mississippi Museums in Downtown Jackson. Image: Drew Dempsey/The Tell Agency

Jackson chef Nick Wallace has opened The Nissan Café by Nick Wallace Culinary at the Two Mississippi Museums in Downtown Jackson.

A breakfast and lunch spot on the museums’ northwest corner, the menu includes a breakfast press with pork belly and tomatoes, croissant and cheese grits, alongside lunch features like Mississippi Gumbo, Southern-style ramen and brisket wraps (See the breakfast and lunch menus here).

“It’s a Southern-focused menu,” Wallace said, “but it should be considered ‘eclectic.’ That’s what we really are here in the South.”

Café hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 am–3 pm, and Sunday, 11 am –4 pm.

Wallaces’ “Mississipi Gumbo,” black eyed peas, Delta brown rice, okra, turkey, collard greens, butterbeans, and Gumbo File. Image: Erin Daniel

Chef’s Roots

Wallace, an Edwards, Mississippi native, credits growing up on his family’s farm and the tutelage of his grandmothers for his culinary prowess.

His first foray into the Jackson restaurant scene was as the Chef at the King Edward Hotel, a place at one time in Jackson’s history where a Black man could only get a drink of water from a fixture at the back of the building.

Wallace told Southern Living Magazine his culinary journey had been filled with self-doubt because of that history.

“There came a point when I started to look at the Bobby Flays and Emerils of the world, and I wondered if I could be that person too,” he said. “But there was always this self-doubt because I never saw anyone who looked like me.”

Wallace Today

Fast-forward many years later, and Wallace is a darling of network TV. He has been featured on Food Network’s “Comfort Nation” (Season 2), Food Network’s “Chopped” and Alton’s Challenge on Food Network’s “Chopped,” Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” Food Network’s Canada “Firemasters” and “Unexplored America – Mississippi.” He has also participated in 50 States–50 Chefs (Flavored Nation) in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and has presented five James Beard Foundation “Mississippi Themed” dinners in New York.

At the opening of the Nissan Café, Wallace teased an upcoming documentary filmed this summer by the late Chef Anthony Bourdain’s Zero Point Zero Productions. The show, Nomad, picks up where Bourdain left off, exploring and exposing the rich culinary history of the world. “It’s going to be a showstopper for Mississippi,” Wallace said.

Wallace, a Chef Partner at the Capital Club of Jackson, touted potential product development – seasonings in particular – and potential future restaurant concepts. He noted his role as spokesperson for Ben’s Original alongside Chef Marcus Samuelson and a new development deal with Pepsi, “a huge influencing opportunity for many chefs,” and his non-profit Creativity Kitchen.

And, there’s one more “big-big” project – “I can’t say anything about it for now,” the Chef quipped “– but it’s national. It’s worldwide. Mississippi has never been a part of this before.”

Learn more about Nick Wallace Culinary at nickwallaceculinary.com.

Wallace (center left), with Nick Wallace Culinary’s Capital Club Executive Chef Deshawn Barnett (center right), cut the ribbon on the Nissan Cafe by Nick Wallace Culinary. Image: Drew Dempsey/The Tell Agency