I’m not usually one to be lacking in creativity, but I must admit that seeing the name “FrogHead Grill” around town had me a bit baffled. I’ve seen the huge green marquee sign many, many times when driving down Highway 90 in Ocean Springs, so I finally decided to pique my curiosity and check it out.
I first stepped into FrogHead Grill on a weekday afternoon. Wow – there were so many lunch options! A manic eye scan of the menu, and the cooler caught my eye and a smile spread across my craft-beer-loving face: there are plenty of bottled brews to choose from here! I made my first decision with the new Kiln Mississippi Gold, a light-bodied ale from Mississippi’s oldest brewery and Gulf Coast local, Lazy Magnolia.
On to the Food.
During lunch, FrogHead Grill is counter service which means you’ll order and pay at the walk-up counter, and they’ll bring your food to your table. For dinner, the restaurant becomes full service.
The menu is extensive with soups, salads, quesadillas, sandwiches, wraps, poboys and entrees available. Unable to decide, I reverted to my “I eat for a living” default and asked the manager to surprise me with an appetizer and entree. She also insisted I save room for dessert – the bread pudding – with an assuring reminder that to-go boxes were readily available. I consented.
Let’s Dive In… First up: Crawfish Etouffee. The FrogHead Grill interpretation leans Creole with a roux-based sauce that is creamy, slightly spicy and supremely delicious served with fluffy white rice and flavorful crawfish tails. I had a small cup, which was plenty for a good appetizer.
Next up was the Voodoo Wrap. At FrogHead Grill, this is their meaty, overstuffed wrap with hand cut sirloin, juicy grilled chicken, thick crispy bacon, pepper jack cheese, and their Trippin’ Toad Sauce which is creamy with a little kick. Truthfully, I couldn’t eat half of it after having the etoufee! It was a VERY good wrap, but it could easily be shared with a friend. Also worth mentioning are their Sweet Potato Fries… one of my favorite things, and to top it off, here, they serve them with a creamy cinnamon dipping sauce.
Finally, I had the Bread Pudding that they insisted I try, and I am so glad I did. It wasn’t a huge portion, so you can definitely fit it in after your meal! It’s served warm with a buttery rum sauce and a little whipped cream.
The Legend of “Fred the Frog”
After my meal, I understood the food here – it’s casual and most of what we crave on a comfort food list. But I was still perplexed. Although the decor spoke to the name with “froggy” sayings and lily pads painted on walls, I was still unsure how this all came together.
Then, I met Joshua Welch, the owner of FrogHead Grill, and I learned the backstory.
In the not-too-distant past, along the bank of quite an ordinary stream lived a frog who liked to call himself Fred. In his early years, Fred’s day went much the same way each and every day: relaxing by the water’s edge, enjoying the outdoors (perhaps a swim if he was feeling especially froggy), evening socials (sometimes croaking till the wee hours of the morning), and feasting on an endless supply of pesky insects that happened to taste absolutely delicious. (He IS a frog, afterall!)
As he aged, Fred began to ponder the meaning of his life and the very purpose of his existence. Fred soon found himself unhappy and discontent with the life he seemed destined to lead. Despite being constantly surrounded by great food and friends, he felt ashamed of being nothing more than a meager frog. Finally unable to take the anguish any longer, Fred decided to break from froggy tradition and travel the world in search of a life with meaning and purpose.
Fred was a patient fellow. No delusions of grandeur plagued this little amphibian. He knew his quest was not an easy one—his journey would be long, and at times even treacherous, but he was determined to find meaning and purpose for his life.
Fred’s travels took him around the world. He toured all the great continents (and even a few of the not-so-great), and he met people (and frogs) of every size, shape, and color. Despite his efforts, Fred couldn’t find a single acquaintance who could answer his pressing question: “What does it mean to have a life of purpose?”
After seven long years of his adventure, Fred hadn’t found any answers. Despite his persistence, his endurance was starting to wane. It had gotten so bad that Fred the Frog was thinking of abandoning his quest.
Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, Fred realized what he’d been searching for all along! People the world over, regardless of race, culture, class, or means had one thing in common: the pure and utter pleasure brought by great food and friends!
Reflecting on what he had previously thought to be his inadequate beginnings, Fred discovered for himself a new perspective: A Frog’s Life filled with great food, great friends and fun. This perspective embodied the very life of purpose he had sought for so long! With new direction and focus, Fred set out to share his thoughts with others.
Wanting to do more than spread his insights, Fred also wanted to provide both a means through which others could experience the pleasures and a name by which to call those who shared his outlook. Since his life served as the example by which he lived, he could find no better name than FrogHead [a distant cousin to the Parrothead] and no better place for friends and family to come together for great food and fun than The FrogHead Grill! No membership fees would be paid, nor any debt would be owed as its doors would be open to all who want to “answer “Yes!” when asked: “Feeling Froggy?”
Joshua adds with a wink, “That’s my story—I’m stickin’ to it!”
Visit the FrogHead Grill at 1618 Bienville Boulevard in Ocean Springs or call 228-334-5877 to order take-out (which they do very well!). Cheers to Feeling Froggy my fellow FrogHeads!