Fond of Fondren

Have you heard of the Fondren District? Of the Mississippi Food and Wine Festival? Basil’s? Restaurateur Nathan Glenn gives us the low-down on one of Mississippi’s most-beloved areas. Hear all about the Fondren District and some of Jackson, MS’s best burgers on this episode of the Main and Mulberry Podcast.


00:12 AB: Hello, everyone. I’m Anna Bell and welcome to another episode of Main and Mulberry. Today, I’m really excited to have with me Nathan Glenn. Nathan is the long-standing restaurant owner in Jackson, Mississippi, and he’s also involved in promoting an area called the Fondren District. Nathan, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today.

00:34 NG: Yeah, you’re so welcome. Thanks for having me.

00:36 AB: Absolutely. So let’s kinda get started on a brief history of you. Have you always been in the restaurant business?

00:43 NG: Yeah, that’s kinda been my background. I have a, say, a blessing and a curse. I was actually raised in the industry. My folks always owned and operated restaurants. First memory, grew up in New Orleans down there right off Carondelet outside of the quarter, cooking french fried po-boys and fried shrimp. And yeah, just so kinda having that…

01:01 AB: You were fully immersed from the beginning, right?

01:03 NG: Yeah, I was. I was about six, seven years old and just memories of hostessing and help bussing tables and washing dishes and whatever it took. It’s a small, small family business and we were just grinding every day. Instead of baby sitters, we were in the back of the kitchens.

01:18 AB: I love it.

01:19 NG: Yeah, and then funny story, at nine years old, was the first age I had to actually cook a rush. One of the cooks didn’t show up to work, so my dad tied an apron to my neck and put me on a milk crate, and would tell me when to flip the shrimp. And so that was my…

01:31 AB: That is so great. You were on the hot spot at nine. I love that.

01:35 NG: At nine, yeah, and just started the grind from there. But yeah, so now I’m top 45, opened my first restaurant when I was 24. So we’re going on 20, I’ve had 20, 21 years in the business and, yeah, it’s been a good run. Yeah, multiple restaurants. Probably working on my 11th restaurant total. Some I’ve sold and closed, but yeah, right now, I’m operating three restaurants now in the Jackson area. We’ve got the Roosters which was founded in ’84. And then we got also a… Which is more the Southern cuisine, burgers, plates, fresh bakery. Bake all our product from scratch and then we have a brand called Basils, which is fresh paninis, pizza, salads, and real kinda fast casual, but still the approach of quality food and everything made from scratch.

02:19 AB: That’s so cool. Okay, so currently you have the two restaurants, Rooster’s and Basil’s, right? Basil’s Fondren.

02:26 NG: Yeah, correct, that’s right. So we’re located in Fondren on State Street, which is right down maybe three blocks from UMC University Medical Center, which is the major medical center for Jackson and even for the state. And we have St. Dominic’s and Baptist, which are three major hospitals. We’re a very major medical area that we’ve kinda secured, or got to. And that was the main reason, was getting to Fondrens because the hospitals, I knew I could serve a burger for lunch and make a living.

02:55 AB: Yeah, absolutely. Hey, we gotta feed all those hospital workers too, right?

03:00 NG: That’s right, they’re hungry. No, it’s actually been kinda neat during this phase. We supplemented being closed through some of our catering, feeding some of these frontline heroes who deal with the COVID. So we’ve been sending them lunches all the time. It’s been a nice relationship, yeah.

03:16 AB: That’s so cool.

03:19 NG: Yeah, yeah.

03:20 AB: You started to touch on kind of your experience, what it’s like inside your restaurants, Rooster’s and Basil’s. Kinda tell us about what the ambiance is like and maybe what are some of the favorites on the menu.

03:34 NG: Sure. So I’m personally a fast casual or a counter search, semi-service kind of thing. I’m real busy. I think people are really busy right now, and I think a full service experience, even though it’s a great for going out for dinner, it’s just you gotta make a commitment of your time when you go to a restaurant that has full service. And so, we kinda come back and take a fast casual, semi-service approach. So you come in, everything’s kind of crafted, like our food. We’re real good about make everything from scratch. We’ve got hand-built tables. I have a good carpenter buddy. He’ll have a fallen cherry tree and have it sit out for two years and plain it. We’ll come back and build our countertops and our bars out of that.

04:13 AB: That’s so cool.

04:15 NG: Yeah, and so we just kinda give that local wood crafted feel.

04:18 AB: Okay.

04:19 NG: And so that’s kinda the approach we do to a counter service. But we then, once you place your order, we bring the food to the table and do refills. So we pick up the service at that point. But you go ahead and pay, and that way, when you’re done eating, you can go. There’s no inefficiency of time. So, Rooster’s is known for burgers. My father founded it in 1984. So it’ll be our 36 years June 21st. So coming up on a Thursday here, our anniversary. He did a premium burger before premium burgers were cool. He started making his own buns. We do a white bun, a wheat bun, and a jalapeno cheddar bun from scratch. And we don’t put any preservatives or conditioners in it, so it’s real fresh. The bread’s eaten within 24 hours or we get rid of it. And then we have fresh… We have fresh ground chuck in. We hand-patty it, have our own [05:04] ____ made, and the order comes in, we put it on the grill. Salt and pepper, we cook to order, and that’s just… It’s nothing complicated.

05:11 AB: That sounds fresh to me.

05:12 NG: Yeah, it is. It’s super fresh. And then we have Southern plates at Rooster’s. We have chicken tenders. We fry everything to order, country-fried steaks, hamburger steaks, big chicken salads. And we kinda have some fun, do like a National Hot Chicken Sandwich. Red beans and rice kinda connects to our New Orleans roots a little bit. We’ve got this great Creole gravy we make that we’ll top on top of a chicken cutlet. Yeah, and just kinda…

05:33 AB: Nathan, you’re making me hungry.

05:35 NG: Well, that’s my job. Rooster’s has been there, like I said, at this… In Fondren, for right at going on 17, 18 years now, and just… And then the Basil’s is on the other side of… We actually have two restaurants in one kind of building. So we’re in a multi-use complex for this loft apartments in the fourth and fifth floor.

05:55 AB: Okay.

05:57 NG: Office is second, third.

05:58 AB: That’s very cool.

06:00 NG: Yeah, it is neat. It was the first multi-use complex in Jackson. It was the first place that had retail, restaurant, shopping, offices and apartments or lofts on top. So yeah, it was a cool little space. Yeah.

06:11 AB: Yeah.

06:13 NG: So, and then Basil’s…

06:14 AB: So kinda tell me about Basil’s, yeah.

06:14 NG: Yeah, so Basil’s is, we were one of the first to bring, I guess, paninis to Jackson. It is a… Panini is just Italian for small sandwich.

06:22 AB: Yeah.

06:23 NG: Basically, we do a fresh focaccia bread and have a number of cheeses and meats and proteins. You stuff the sandwich between the bread and you put it on a double-sided grill-press. Like a commercial size George Foreman old grill is the best way I can explain it. And we do a lot of salads, great pizzas, and all the kinda quick… It’s more built for speed than Rooster’s. Everything’s still kinda assemble-to-order, but a lot of catering out of there also, big sandwich platters. Yeah, but it’s a nice compliment so we’ve got the burger and Southern plates and on the other side, you’ve got more of the sandwiches, pizzas, and the lighter salad line. You can come in and we have a join-the-hallway seating area, so half the people eat at Rooster’s, other half eat at Basil’s and everybody has a better option.

07:08 AB: That’s so cool. So tell me about during this COVID-19 shut down, pandemic, you’re having to fight through some regulations. What did you guys do? Did you do curbside? How was the business effected during this time?

07:24 NG: And so Fondren is so close to the hospitals. In all the hospitals in town, like I’m sure everywhere else, they could only allow patients, no visitors and so, it really restricted that. So we felt like that was really gonna stop some of our traffic flow, and we went for about a week after it hit, we were doing curbside but it just the realization that might be a safer bet, just to go ahead and close everything down. And so on our Fondren locations, we closed everything down. We’re actually in the middle of re-opening here, another week or so. And actually, what I did with this time is decided to renovate like I said, about 17 years old, the kitchen needed a rehab so we just completely went to work after about a week of watching, realizing this wasn’t gonna be a quick turnaround, but we weren’t gonna be re-open in two weeks. We came back and we get the floors in the kitchen, the dining rooms, the walls, to make it more sanitary. So we would have an easier platform to clean, to get it clinically clean. So yeah, that’s what we’ve been doing with our time right now.

08:21 AB: Well, so you haven’t missed a beat then, it sounds like you’ve been busy this whole time.

08:26 NG: Yeah, yeah, so it’s like we say we’re coming on our 36 years and we’re looking forward for the next 36 years for the family business. But it’s been nice, it’s been refreshing. We’ve lost some staff which is kinda sad, some people and just the way it works. And I’m not sure how many we’re gonna… We’ve got some core people coming back, I’m not sure how many have gone and found other jobs and it’s just a really weird difficult time in society. But for this, you can tell on the news and everything else. The restaurants, we’ve really taken a hard lick, they’re some unknowns that we’ve never had to deal with, it just kind of happens. Unfortunately there’ll be a lot that do not re-open, that is definitely happening, and if you have some time on the job and had some struggles before those struggles are helping us mitigate and work through this process.

09:13 AB: Yeah, one thing we were talking about before we jumped on this call was talking about leaning on your experiences. Tell me, you’ve been in the business for a long time now and you’ve seen some ups and downs. What kind of experiences are you leaning on right now, is anything of family lessons?

09:32 NG: Yes, so I guess some of the best for right now, one is being a small business. Sometimes the cards don’t fall the right way, sometimes your cash load just gets tight so having some of the… Coming from a background that we had a tight cash flow areas, you’re able to manage that anxiety so that’s been a very benefiting… I guess a way is being broke before is helping right now ’cause you’re able to… You understand how to stretch a dollar, stretch a penny. You know how to talk to your suppliers, you know how to talk to everybody you’re involved with. I feel for a lot of young restaurateurs and young companies that are coming up, there’s so much pressure and all these companies, it’s their job to get paid too. And they start getting all these added pressure and it’s hard to learn how to deal with some of that added pressure.

10:21 AB: Well, Nathan, correct me if I’m wrong, I know opening a restaurant is one of the harder things you can open, and start a business with and that’s under normal circumstances. I really do feel for those who are trying to open up at the start of a year, into all this mess.

10:37 NG: That’s why I try to explain, the best way I can describe it is, it’s like having to re-open up a restaurant day one back over again. And but you’ve got extra restrictions, we’re not sure what direction is it coming back, the food supply, is it gonna sustain. The meat prices have been going up, going skyrocketing. Is that gonna balance out? And so there’s all these unknowns, we don’t know. Luckily, with the PPP loans and disaster loans, there’s been some help there, but you just gotta make sure you hold on to that money and not over-spend it, ’cause next year is going to be a very interesting here. Yeah, that’s the thing.

11:13 AB: Yeah, be smart. Well Nathan so tell me what, maybe flip side to this, what’s been the biggest take away from the entire experience? Is there something you’ve picked up, a practice or something that you’ve been really focused on during this time?

11:31 NG: Yes, so we’ve been leaning towards the curbside pick up, online ordering, the contact list experience for restaurants. And so one of my other stores, we’ve really been going down that direction, but it’s really making everyone engaged in that practice, and it goes back to the efficiency and I like it for the efficiency, but it’s not so much as I like it for the customer things. So I think this has forced customers that would not use the online ordering and curbside pickup that would just not engage with the technology because it might just feel uncomfortable for them or for whatever reason. They’re just old school, picking up the phone, I’m glad for that aspect is going towards the future. I think everybody will be using the online ordering capabilities, and that just makes it easier for everybody. The customers, they get to kind of shop, they don’t have anxieties up there, you know, we don’t want 20 people behind them. There’s these little intricate things that really affect somebody’s experience in a restaurant and I think these things in the long-term is gonna help that experience. And what will happen is, if my servers or counter people, they’re more focused on running the food, making sure it’s proper, making sure you have refills, and not so… Worried about taking the order and doing the financial exchange.

12:50 AB: Going through the motions.

12:51 NG: Yeah, going through those motions. So, that takes X amount of time. You gotta make sure and I think, nothing is separating that and where they can focus more on the food service side of it is gonna be a better experience for everybody. And then there’s, of course, the personality conflict. You might run into a server or a counter person and the customer, they, just for whatever reason, might come from… So, two totally walks of life, and then there’s that you have to manage too.

13:16 AB: Yeah.

13:16 NG: And everybody has a bad day.

13:20 AB: That’s true.

13:21 NG: From one of my employees to a customer. I’ve seen them on both sides. Yeah, so. Yeah, I’m looking forward to that kind of it fast forward us about 10 years I guess or whatever. Yeah, so.

13:31 AB: Right. Nat, if you’re comfortable…

13:34 NG: Yeah.

13:35 AB: Talking about how phasing back into business has been a struggle with the capacity restrictions.

13:42 NG: Yeah, so that’s one of my major concerns in the whole scheme of things, is just because it’s… And you hear it all over the place, right? That’s the number one thing you’re hearing. And even as we’re posting pics of our room design, dining room, we were just putting pics up and all these tables and stuff, we’ve had people posting, saying, “Hey, you’re tables are too close.” It’s like, “Look, we’re posting a picture. Just kinda slow your role a little bit.”

14:05 AB: Right, right.

14:06 NG: The key is restaurants really need to be at full capacity to make money, right? So if you see a restaurant that’s not busy all the time, it’s not really making money, right? And it’s such a very low profitable business. I am concerned about this, is that the problems is if you have a 50% capacity, then all the PPP money and all that kind of stuff runs out. You’re gonna see a lot more restaurants not come back because they’re just gonna be in… There’s gonna be negative cash flow [14:34] ____.

14:36 AB: For too long, yeah.

14:38 NG: Yeah, and you just don’t know. And is the customers gonna come back? It was the full service dining restaurant so the higher end places, are they gonna come and be as profitable as they were? And the problem with that is you’ve got the higher end spot that’s got these chefs with X amount of culinary degrees that you have to pay more, right?

14:55 AB: That’s true.

14:56 NG: The problem is all these restaurants are gonna open up not doing the same numbers that we were doing. And can you afford to pay the people you cultivated X amount of years of experience with and wanna take care of? Imagine that because we don’t know and so that’s the problem. There’s just an unknown and normally, as a small business owner, you manage and you get ahead of things and have plan A, B and C. You kinda know everything. So that’s the biggest concern, is we just don’t know in six months what the playing field’s gonna look like.

15:28 AB: But it sounds like, as you were slowly kinda phasing back into business, doing the 25% capacity, the 50% capacity, on one hand we wanna be safe. But on the other hand, if you’re a restaurant owner, well, you’re kind of ready to ramp things back up and get people in the door.

15:47 NG: Yeah, and it goes back to take-out is such a big part of the restaurant industry right now. And normally you have a higher end restaurant, you have a full service experience. Their money is really made online and bar, right, that experience, right? And they’re the ones that have the premium dining rooms on Main Street and they have all the fancy lights. But the problem is…

16:10 AB: It’s all about the experience, yeah.

16:16 NG: Yeah, right? But without that experience, I’m gonna call that liquor profit, right, those numbers are gonna change because a lot of those guys are paying premium real estate prices, right? And that’s gonna be a tough thing. And the other issue with that is a lot of times that food doesn’t… Because a lot of people don’t want that high end food traveling, right? You don’t wanna go get a $50 plate of food and take it home and eat it, right?

16:34 AB: Yeah, you wanna sit at the table and enjoy it as it comes out.

16:38 NG: Yeah, that’s exactly right, because I’ve got some friends, good business associates, that have a higher end experience than I do as far as the dining room. So I would say the approach to food and cooking can be the same, and the difference between, say, a burger guy and a steak guy, or a seafood guy, it’s just a difference of protein and price point and service system. So you can still have the same quality of approach towards your food, but you’ve got these other factors in there with… How much a fillet cost or how much a nice piece of red fish brought in from the coast cost. Where I’m using ground chuck or a chicken tender product, which is, it’s not a cheaper protein, but it’s a lower price protein, right? There’s more availability for it.

17:19 AB: Right.

17:21 NG: And so there’s a lot unknown.

17:24 AB: A lot of factors.

17:24 NG: It’s [17:25] ____ time, yeah. I actually kinda I feel for some of my friends that have a higher end experience than I do because I’m casual enough. And we do 50%, 60% take-out anyway. So we have such a large take-out business and I expect that to kinda continue.

17:39 AB: Okay. Has that been pretty steady throughout this time of phasing back into business? Your take-out curb sign.

17:46 NG: Well, yeah, so luckily I kept one of my locations, a Basil’s in Ridgeland, it’s actually a renaissance. It’s this cool outdoor mall in the original Mississippi, and it’s kind of a premium, kind of stronger destination for Jackson.

17:58 AB: Okay.

17:58 NG: Or for Ridgeland. Jackson’s kind of, it’s like any big thing, they have a few suburbs around us. But the first two weeks were a little light but we went to the curbside pickup and online ordering which we already did. And we’ve actually, after two weeks doing it, we’ve kind of had a nice steady growth in our sales. It’s pretty much what they were last year and I haven’t been in that location but a year plus a little bit. We’ve had a lot of success but I’m kinda built for the take-out also. Especially for sandwiches, salads, pizzas. That’s a take-out kinda group of food, so I got lucky in that aspect of that’s how I chose to make my living selling food.

18:34 AB: That’s good. I know a lot of our listeners are probably only thinking about how delicious your hamburger is right now. And it sounds really good to me. We’re at lunch time right now, but maybe we can switch gears a little bit and touch on a different topic.

18:49 NG: Okay.

18:50 AB: Maybe we can talk a little bit about your involvement in the area that you’re in, Fondren. We’ve touched on it a little bit here, but I’d love to learn a little bit more about the Fondren area. What can you tell us?

19:01 NG: So Fondren, like I said, I got to the area… We always liked Fondren. It was always kind of a, I guess 20 years, it was a little run down, right? It was kind of on the outskirts of the downtown area. It was on the outskirts of the hospital dollar, or the hospital traffic. But it had some cool old school restaurants, and it was kind of a little hipster a little bit before hipster was cool.

19:24 AB: Yeah.

19:24 NG: A lot of art galleries. You had a lot of very… Laid back’s not the right word, but very Open to anybody that came around, as long as you had respect and treated the community right, arms are open. So it’s probably when it’s welcome…

19:39 AB: You’re welcome.

19:40 NG: Yeah, probably the most welcoming communities in Mississippi. You got some great stuff on the coast, you actually got a couple of cool spots in the Delta right now, the Rock, Cleveland is happening, pretty solid. I guess it’s kind of between this little bit. So Fondren was great, opened up the doors, I got there 18 years ago. We went into the old Wildlife and Fisheries building, it was worn out, has been empty for 10 years. I walked in, the front walls were gutted and destroyed.

20:10 AB: Oh God. [laughter]

20:10 NG: A gentleman named Mike Peters was a real estate guy, came in and bought the building and really allowed it to grow. I actually lived there for the first 10 years with the restaurant. So, I live upstairs, worked downstairs, but the area is great. So, it’s opened up, there’s been 18, 19 restaurants opened up around me in the last 20 years since we’ve been there. One block down from us, a gentleman Derek Emerson owns Walker’s, CAET, the better chefs in the region. We’ve got this pocket of really good independent so what happened is you had all the really good independent restaurateurs I think, came to Fondren and it just blew up. It just became a little cool spot or the… Really neat.

20:51 AB: Hip place to be, huh?

20:54 NG: Yeah, it really did. And so we’ve got… Now do Fondren’s First Thursdays. We have once a month on Thursdays, you got street vendors come out, we got live music. You’ve got people can walk around the area, Fondren has been dedicated in Mississippi for a go-cup so you can actually walk around and have a drink, which is rare for Mississippi. Yeah, and it’s really neat.

21:11 AB: Cool, yes that is. That’s a really cool thing.

21:14 NG: We got a great relationship with the police department. Jackson, we got a real good relationship with everybody, especially in Fondren. It’s the one spot where everybody comes together, there’s no outside suburban issues or anything and I love suburbia. Come on, come meet with me guys. So yeah, it’s really neat, it’s been a great growth for me.

21:35 AB: You know what, Nathan, it sounds like it’s a really cool area. Do you guys have a lot of advance or that’s gonna be under a lot of regulations going forward though?

21:46 NG: That’ll be an interesting question, right? Every few years, you have organizations kind of revamp so we’re actually going through a revamping of the Fondren Association, which been the driving force from day one. Yeah, like last year we did the Mississippi Food and Wine Festival, was centered in Fondren, and it was super cool. We had chefs from other coast, from New Orleans, the Delta, all over came down and we’ve got a couple of streets that were able to close off. And so we’ve got this old school, it’s called Duling school, it’s a school that was built in the 1920s, and it runs almost like one leg of Fondren. And it’s been renovated, so we’ve got the Babalu, it’s got the Ridge, and 10 years ago, I actually did a project, and it’s called The Auditorium, took the original school auditorium, we go to dinner theaters out of it, so we kept the original stage.

22:36 AB: Really cool!

22:37 NG: It was super cool, yeah, and until today, it’s still being used as called Duling Hall, where we have a lot of live entertainment runs through there. And in that same building, you’ve got two or three other restaurants, on the Duling property you’ve got like a big new Trustmark building, a couple of big banks, offices, laws, a couple of ad agencies, you’ve got Ramey Ad Agency, which is a big player in the south as an advertising company, they’re right there so it’s a really neat area. And where we close streets off, do live music. To answer the question, we’re not sure the approach on how the events are coming, even though we know we’re planning on another big Mississippi Food and Wine Festival. Like a restaurant, where kids come, I think around October. I think right now that’s they year towards [23:20] ____.

23:20 AB: So in the fall.

23:22 NG: Yeah, we always do a pretty neat, we do a big Beer Craft Festival, it’s probably the third or fourth year we’ve done it and it is huge. It has just blown up and we were doing a big Beer Week this week. So it looks like we’re not gonna be able to hit that, but I think we can tie it in to the Restaurant Week a little bit, yeah.

23:37 AB: Okay, okay so maybe there’s hope for later on in the future, I guess.

23:42 NG: Yeah, no doubt about it. We’re coming back hard and as soon as we get the okay, we’re gonna throw a… I’ve got a big parking deck on the back part of our building and we’ll do these State Street concerts series through the years. We’ll come back and do food, music and we do a lot of live music events. We plan on doing a big, grand opening, when the city gives us the okay. A lot of the communities gonna come together. Right now, we’re talking about just doing a giveaway, we’re talking just [24:06] ____, feeding people free, and give them southern beverage, Budweiser, to donate beer and we’ll bring a little face painters in and knock it over.

24:17 AB: That will get people out there, that will get people going, for sure. [laughter] But it sounds like the area as a whole, is doing their best to get back to business and find some normalcy again, right?

24:31 NG: Yeah, that’s exactly what’s happening. You’ve got everybody really pushed to take out. You’ve got, say there’s 18 restaurants or however many we have now. You’ve probably had four or five that stayed open through take out and have done well. There has been a little lack of energy, really, is that hospital, the traffic has just not been there, but right across from me in my building, there’s been a brand new Hotel coming to Fondren. So we we’re supposed to open in two or three months, which is kind of caddy point from where Rooster’s and Basil’s is. Fondren’s been growing and growing over the last 20 years, with the last 10 and even five, we’ve got a lot of dollars and it’s really become the center for Jackson, and I feel like probably the center for Mississippi, a little bit. Not throwing the coast under the bus or anybody from the Delta. But we’ve built good relationships with all those folks also. So if anybody would travels to Jackson, I recommend coming to Fondren. You’ll find something that suits your fancy, and it’s very walkable. You just park anywhere, and you could… It’s a big block.

25:33 AB: Yeah that’s right, it does sound like it has something for everybody.

25:34 NG: It is, we’ve got a great Mexican and everything’s local, we don’t really have any… We might have one franchise restaurant there, maybe. Everything else is independence and good independence, people who’ve had years and years and experience on the job.

25:48 AB: Well, Nathan, I really do appreciate that update and giving us an idea of what kind of area Fondren is, how you guys are making it through this pandemic. I’d like to give you an open mic now to share whatever you might wanna share with the community about your restaurants, or about your community. I’d just like to give you an open mic for a minute.

26:11 NG: Okay, well, appreciate everybody listening. And if anybody ever makes it to Jackson I’d like to say… In your own community this is gonna be a time to support the local restaurants, have an understanding of what really any small business is going through, but as a restauranteur I can really only speak upon what we do. It is gonna be a trying time. I would ask that… We’ve had, we’ve seen some unruly customers that get aggravated through this, so just try to understand that we are trying to figure it out. We are, as restauranteurs, in a position we’ve never been in before. But, you know, I’m really excited about the rebirth. I’mma call it the reboot. It’s gonna be a completely different experience of dining and entertaining on the other side of this and if everybody could just be a little bit kinder I think we’ll go a little bit further. And so yeah, so I think that’s the biggest thing. And I just tell people, don’t eat frozen food.

27:02 NG: You know, go to your fresh places. Support that local restauranteur that’s got the wait staff and the cooks that are gonna spend money in your community. You know, that’s the negative. I don’t hate chains, but the negative is got that profit that chains make are going out of your community. And so just have people be understanding and mindful, even if you’ve got a local owner of a franchise restaurant, they’re still paying X amount of a percentage to a chain that’s going outside of your market. And yeah, so just looking forward to the next 36 years, I guess, as a company and pre-tell everybody, “Come check us out in [27:37] ____.

27:38 AB: Yeah.

27:40 NG: If you haven’t been here, it would be a great experience for you to have. We’re very family oriented. You know, kids…

27:45 AB: It sounds like even if you have visited you need to go back because you guys are getting a face lift, right?

27:51 NG: Yeah, you wouldn’t recognize it. We had a couple of grants the last couple of years. We re-did sidewalks and green space and we doubled all the sidewalk space. It’s nice here. A lot of people, like they say is, “we don’t believe we’re in Mississippi now.” right? And it’s not that it’s that out of ordinary but it’s just that kind of cool and kind of a little bit, some of the best food in the south, there’s no doubt. Our little strip, we’ve got some of the… There’s other spots too, but we can compete with any other for variety and quality, and attention to detail. We can compete with anybody else community and food-wise.

28:25 AB: I love it. Well Nathan, we sincerely appreciate the update and all the insight and your time today, thank you.

28:32 AB: And thank you for your time and I appreciate the opportunity.

28:35 NG: Yeah.

28:35 NG: If you get to Jackson come see us. We’ll… I’ll cook you a Rooster Burger or whatever you like to eat.

28:40 AB: Hey, that sounds good to me. I love it. Okay. Until next time I’m Anna Bell sending you all well-wishes.


28:56 NG: This episode of Main and Mulberry, is sponsored by Tour Collierville magazine. If you like Main and Mulberry you’re going to love this hyper-local lifestyle publication in Collierville, Tennessee. Check out local content at or by downloading the Tour Collierville app in the Apple App Store, or Google Play Store.

Hi there. Signup for our free weekly email that lists all the new stories we posted.

Signup Now  Maybe Later