Southern-style fare is as much about the food as it is the hospitality. Dishes with names like “Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf,” “Three Deviled Eggs Went Down to Georgia” and “Fried Green Tomato BLT”  are worth the drive to this outstanding restaurant.

Shrimp and grits is a classic comfort-food dish.
Photo Courtesy of The Southern By Tractors

By Daniel Pliska

Southern-style fare includes Cajun/Creole, Low Country, Tex Mex, Floridian, Southwestern, and California Fusion. Then there is the comforting and classic style that hails from the antebellum era and is prevalent around the cities of Nashville and Atlanta. This style of food and dining, replete with cordial hospitality, is the specialty of The Southerner by Tractors.

Owners Steve and Teresa Blankenship met while Teresa was working her way through college as a server in a restaurant Steve managed. After they were married, they were approached by a property owner in Jackson, Missouri, and decided to go into business for themselves. Teresa says, “We opened our first restaurant, Tractors, with a lot of sweat equity and help from friends and community members.”

The couple added a second restaurant in 2017, when they opened The Southerner in the new Drury Plaza Hotel in Cape Girardeau. Since then, The Southerner has gained a following for gracious service, imaginative cocktails, and their twist on southern classic dishes. Along with Chef Zach Martin, who has also grown with the company over the years, Steve and Teresa are proud of signature dishes such as Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf—their twist on the comfort classic to which they add Gouda cheese and finish it on the grill—or shrimp and grits made with sweet cream grits topped with pan-seared, jumbo gulf shrimp in a white wine and chili-flake compound butter. Their handbreaded Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders are tossed with their Nashville hot spice and served with Alabama white barbecue sauce. Teresa says that the white barbecue sauce was created in northern Alabama where it is used for grilled chicken.

Other interesting, southern-inspired menu items are the Three Deviled Eggs Went Down to Georgia, Fried Green Tomato BLT, and for dessert, two classic southern specialties: bread pudding and gooey butter cake, a favorite regional specialty dessert made famous in St Louis.

The addition of pimento cheese puts a southern spin on a burger.
Photo by The Southern By Tractors

The bar at the restaurant features hand-crafted cocktails with plenty of specialty bourbons, plus craft beers on draft. The bar staff often creates new featured cocktails that highlight their house-made simple syrups and quality spirits. Some of their most popular are The Witty Comeback made with rye bourbon, fresh ginger, lemon juice, amaretto, and simple syrup and The Spring Fever Reliever, with gin, lemon  juice, elderflower liqueur, lavender bitters, and honey simple syrup.

Sorority sisters enjoy the restaurant’s comfortable, casual atmosphere.
Photo Courtesy of The Southern By Tractors

In addition to the popular main dinner menu, Chef Zach and the kitchen crew offer weekly specials with a southern slant.

Teresa invites hungry guests to come by for lunch or dinner and enjoy the food she grew up on in a place where food is more than nourishment; it is love, comfort, and fun.

Explore the menu at

CHEF DANIEL PLISKA is a certified executive chef and author. He teaches culinary arts at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield.

Article originally published in the July/August 2023 of Missouri Life.