Iconic Jackson Restaurants: Brent’s Drugs

Brent's Drugs
Brent’s Drugs in Jackson, MS. Photo by Rien Fertel.

Snag them while you can: A few tickets remain to our Summer Symposium in Jackson, MS.

This week, we offer you another sneak peek of a brand new oral history project: Iconic Restaurants of Jackson, Mississippi.

We have 3 people on this project, collecting more than 15 interviews, all in advance of our Summer Symposium, June 20-21.

Today, meet Brad Reeves of Brent’s Drugs. His story speaks to  the culinary renaissance happening in Mississippi’s capital city and tells us how he breathed new life into this 68-year-old business. One word: cocktails.

Dr. Alvin Brent opened his pharmacy in late 1946 in the Fondren neighborhood just outside the Jackson city limits. Originally, medicinal prescriptions that didn’t taste very well could be compounded with a bit of soda water and simple syrup to be made palatable. Within years, with the rise of the teenager, these compounds evolved into milkshakes; a menu with burgers and other diner fare was added; the pharmacy became the soda fountain hang-out.

Burger and onion rings_Brent's Drugs
A burger and onion rings from Brent’s Drugs in Jackson, MS. Photo by Rien Fertel.

Sixty-three years later, with Brent’s Drugs under threat of closing, Fondren resident Brad Reeves stepped in to purchase the neighborhood institution. Brad has updated the menu, while keeping the favorites: burgers, shakes, and the egg and olive sandwich (a brilliantly weird and wonderful combination). More recently, Brad and his business partners opened a cocktail speakeasy — The Apothecary — in the old drug storeroom behind the kitchen. With dinner service imminent, Brent’s Drugs continues to evolve well into its seventh decade.

Brad Reeves_Brent's Drugs
Brad Reeves, owner of Brent’s Drugs in Jackson, MS. Photo by Rien Fertel.

I’ve had people tell me, “The one thing I like about Brent’s is I feel like when I come in I always leave in a better mood. — Brad Reeves

Look for more highlights from our Jackson oral history project every day this week, and expect the full project online soon.