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Pure Mississippi food

Lusco’s courtesy Greenwood CVB

Viking Range Corporation has been headquartered in Greenwood, Mississippi, since 1989, and the kitchen appliance manufacturer’s culinary school offers hands-on classes where students learn how to make everything from sushi to pizza to French cuisine — then get to eat it, said Paige Hunt, executive director of the Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“That lends itself to Greenwood to being a culinary community; I think we’ve been ‘foodie’ before we knew what foodie was,” she said.

The Viking Cooking School also provides demonstrations for those who don’t want to do the actual cooking and themed classes such as “Date Night,” “A Taste of Italy” and “Learn to Cook Like ‘The Help’”; most of the 2011 movie “The Help” was filmed in Greenwood.

For those who want a taste of history, Lusco’s is the spot. Lusco’s has been run by the same family for four generations and is in the same location where it opened in 1933, complete with curtained dining booths, each with a buzzer to call the server.

“The local joke is you better be careful who you talk about when you go to Lusco’s,” Hunt said with a laugh.

During the height of Prohibition, the private booths allowed diners to bring in their moonshine — something guests can still do today. Because Lusco’s is next to a church and because Mississippi’s liquor laws are “kind of weird,” Lusco’s can only serve beer, Hunt said. But customers can brown bag their own liquor or wine to enjoy with dinner.

“It’s delicious and unique, and bringing in the booze is just a fun experience,” she said.

Founded in 1936, Giardina’s is another mainstay from the same era and also features private, curtained booths, although the restaurant moved to its new location next to Viking’s Alluvian Hotel in 2003. Giardina’s serves Italian dishes and Southern staples, and offers special nights like Wednesday Wine Down.