Mindi Meyaard's workday starts at 4 a.m. - and most Tuesdays through Fridays, one of her Lunch Lady regulars is ordering his breakfast at 6:01 a.m., one minute after she opens.
Along with traditional eggs, pancakes and French toast, the breakfast menu includes Taylor Pork Roll, a Northern favorite - sliced pork cooked on the griddle to perfection, then topped with eggs and cheese on a jumbo English muffin, for $5.25.
If you're new to these parts, consider Biscuits & Gravy, $5.50, two large biscuits served open-faced and smothered with homemade sausage gravy.
In addition to six hearty varieties of Scrambles, The Lunch Lady's version of omelets, priced from $7.95 to $8.95, you can also find a Lox Platter of thinly shaved smoked salmon, red onion, sliced tomatoes, capers and a toasted bagel with cream cheese for $10.95, or the new Country Benedict for $9.95, featuring an open-faced biscuit topped with grilled honey ham, poached eggs and homemade hollandaise served with hash browns.
Meyaard and her husband, Brandon, have been running The Lunch Lady for eight years, and she said most of the staff have been with them for a while. When they moved from Argent Boulevard to their new location in Riverwalk, just off Hwy. 170 in Ridgeland, they took along the license plates, collectible lunch boxes, whimsical signs and Coca Cola memorabilia that give the restaurant its casual, quirky, friendly character.
They also stuck to their philosophy of offering consistent food - fresh, quality ingredients - and service in a fun atmosphere.
Although breakfast is served all day, at lunchtime the place is hopping, and it's no wonder. Along with homemade soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps, most priced under $9, The Lunch Lady's signature Cheddar Crisp Burger is made from freshly ground chuck topped with tons of shredded cheddar cheese and grilled until it oozes out the side to form a crispy ring, $8.95.
From the 14 available sides, you might consider making a meal of the mouthwatering creamed collards.
For those who prefer making lunch their main meal of the day, Open-Faced Turkey features oven-roasted white meat turkey over Texas toast with homemade sausage cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce, $8.50. The Shaved Hot Roast Beef, $9.50, is served over Texas toast, smothered with gravy and accompanied by two sides.
Open Tuesday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, The Lunch Lady does not take reservations, but does offer takeout or a "community table" where solo diners can mix and mingle.
Be sure to ask about the daily specials, which include lobster rolls and crab cakes on Fridays. Call 843-645-6331.
Freelance writer Pam Gallagher was a copy editor at USA Today and a staff writer and fashion editor for the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press.