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A Southern Drawl

The 573 is home to an extensive array of unique eateries. Here at 573 Magazine, we relish trying new, delectable dishes and sharing them with you, our friends, our family, and our 573 neighbors.

Today, we journeyed to Cape Girardeau to check out The Southerner, a restaurant by Tractors. The smell of southern home cooking greets you at the door, and the familiar sights of local paradises mixed with southern scenes from the owner's travels grace the walls surrounding the dining room. With a menu inspired by traditional Southern dishes like those you would find in Mississippi, Alabama, or New Orleans, The Southerner is serving up Deep South flavors with a side of that famous 573 feeling of home.

...traditional Southern dishes like those you would find in Mississippi, Alabama, or New Orleans...

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My name is Zachary Martin—I’m the executive chef at The Southerner by Tractors. I started working for the company 12 years ago at Tractors restaurant in Jackson. I moved to The Southern as sous chef and was promoted to executive chef.

Zachary Martin—executive chef at The Southerner by Tractors.

Zachary: I am 34 years old. I have a girlfriend, Jamie Lynn, and two children. I like to kayak and spend time in my camper whenever I’m not here working culinary magic. I ride a bike and just recently did my first 100K on that. That was pretty brutal.

In the past, I have worked in a lot of factories and did other odd jobs. Cooking is just a lot more fun than all that. It’s hard to make good money doing it, but it’s not monotonous. Not every day’s the same. I might get a catering job where I have to cook two pigs. I’ve had to drive to Tennessee to get some lambs. It’s always exciting stuff around here.

The Short Ribs Sammy.

573: The Short Ribs Sammy is out of this world good! The meat is very tender and very juicy. With breaded French fried tobacco onions, topped with melted Swiss cheese and Sriracha mayo, served on a brioche bun…it is absolutely delicious! It’s sweet, and it’s spicy. It just has a beautiful blend of flavors. Cut and fried crispy fresh in-house, the sweet potato chips are simple yet mind-blowing. With sea salt, cilantro, and pepper, these things are addictive!

The Honey Bee is Buffalo Trace bourbon with homemade honey syrup, fresh lemon juice and mint.

Zachary: We are contracted through Drury Inn to do all their events at the Event Center. I believe it has a capacity of 1,000 people, and we’ve done capacity events before. We cater for Dancing with the Stars, and we’ve done the cancer galas a lot…whenever COVID was around, we were feeding what felt like the entire Nestlé Purina factory, delivering to them nearly daily.

The Cajun Redfish.

573: The Cajun Redfish is outstanding! Inspired by a dish enjoyed in Gulf Shores, this entree will take your tastebuds straight to Alabama. A lot of heat with this dish, so tread carefully if you’ve got a sensitive tongue. If you’re like me and you like the heat, then this is an awesome dish for you. The fish is very tender and flaky with blackened seasonings. Served on a bed of rice with this divine Cajun cream sauce created by The Southerner’s talented executive chef…it’s just magnificent!

The Witty Come Back is a Rittenhouse rye bourbon with amaretto, fresh lemon juice, fresh ginger and an orange twist.

Zachary: I guess it was around seven when I really started cooking. When I was growing up, I always watched Food Network, and I would make things for the family. I would always try to make something different about it, too. For example, one time, I started grating carrots to put on my meatloaf, and my parents thought that was super weird, but then it turned out it was delicious! I’ve always enjoyed cooking. I would cook with my grandma a lot growing up. She made the best hamburgers and liver dumplings, which is a family-famous recipe.

The Brown Sugar Brined Pork Chop

573: Along with being one of the most beautiful plated meals that I’ve had the privilege of seeing, this delectable Brown Sugar Brined Pork Chop is super tender and juicy. Topped with tomato balsamic bacon jam, it has a very sweet taste. With that tomato zing and the sweet sauce flavor…it’s mouthwatering. The Gouda Mac & Cheese served with it is SO creamy. It just rolls on the tongue. The flavor is phenomenal, and the pasta is perfection. The cast iron brussel sprouts are tender with a little touch of crisp just on the edges. The seasoning is out of this world, and with the bacon and the onions, it is a very flavorful, very southern dish of greens.

The Basil Hayden Old Fashioned Southerner is made with Basil Hayden bourbon with patient bitters and a secret ingredient to lighten it up and sweeten it a touch, so it’s like an old fashion lite.

Zachary: My sisters call me Bill Nye Chan Crocker because I thought I was a scientist mixed with a martial artist and Betty Crocker all rolled up in one. I was not a martial artist, though.

The Pepper Jack Cheese Wedges.

573: The Pepper Jack Cheese Wedges are fire! This battered fried triangular treat has a nice, crunchy, golden outside covering the hot, creamy, spicy, cheesy inside, which is complimented beautifully by this wonderful jalapeño mango sauce! There’s a lot of heat with this dish here, but the sweet cools it down just perfectly.

Rockyroad Bread Pudding.

573: The Rockyroad Bread Pudding is so decadent. Completely covered in a rich homemade fudge sauce with frozen custard, the bread pudding put a whole new spin on one of America's favorite ice cream flavors. You can taste all of the elements. The chocolate chips, the nuts, the creamy vanilla… you can even taste notes of cinnamon and sugar, the traditional bread pudding topping. This is a super cool twist on an amazing traditional dessert. Simply divine.

Zachary: I have family from Louisiana and have always enjoyed Cajun-Creole food. Whenever I went down there, I enjoyed the food so much that I started making some. Southern food’s not just fried chicken, mashed taters, and green beans. It’s an eclectic mix of cultures and cuisines. The Southerner is like that, too. It’s a mix of efforts from everyone. The menu, food, and atmosphere are a team victory. We have a staff that’s been here since they opened. A core crew has stuck around for about six years, making all this possible.

Well, there you have it, people—Get Out There and get you some cajun. Time's a wasting.

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