Browning on Business: Starkville has national restaurants on horizon

March 20, 2014 10:13:07 AM

William Browning - [email protected]


Did you hear three restaurants are slated to open in Starkville later this year? 


Before we get to that, let's deal with this: The Lenny's Sub Shop at 100 Russell St. will close Wednesday. From that point forward if you want one of the sub sandwiches that originated in a Memphis suburb in 1998, you'll have to go to Tupelo. That's the closest location. 


Now: Three national chain restaurants are slated to come to a currently underdeveloped stretch on Highway 12 in "Mississippi's College Town" sometime after September. The location is adjacent to The Mill development site. 


One of the restaurants will be Hungry Howie's Pizza. The chain began in Michigan in 1973 and famously offers flavored crusts. Today there are more than 545 locations in 21 states. The Starkville location would be the first in Mississippi not in the Jackson metro area, according to the pizza establishment's corporate website. 


One will be Salsarita's Fresh Cantina. That chain began in North Carolina in 2000 and offers Mexican food and "fresh-made guacamole that's always on the house," according to its website. There are 80 around the country and the only other Mississippi location is in D'Iberville. 


And one will be Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. The Illinois-based sandwich chain that bakes fresh bread everyday began in 1983 and today has more than 1,600 stores, according to its website, including a Columbus location that opened two years ago on Highway 45. 


Moving on. Do you fly sometimes or a lot? 


Mike Hainsey, the executive director of the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, spoke to the Columbus Rotary Club on Tuesday. Dispatch reporter Nathan Gregory was there and passed along some interesting factual nuggets. Like this: Flights out of the airport are typically 85 percent full; Tuesday is the slowest travel day of the week; roughly 15 percent of travelers at the airport are flying international; and the airport saw a 6 percent increase in passengers in 2013. It was the only Mississippi airport to see an increase, according to Hainsey. 


Hainsey said to book the cheapest flight possible, buy tickets eight weeks in advance if you can. That's when airlines are the most competitive. 


"They know what the fuel prices are," Hainsey said. "They've already bought it. The way Delta does it is to sell the cheap seats first. As the plane fills up, they go to the next tier fares." 


Lastly, staying in Columbus, The Loft is back open. 


The bar, which sits above Rubens Fish & Steakhouse on Moore's Creek Road, was closed for a stretch following the 2010 death of a patron from acute alcohol intoxication. 


Bradley Corbell re-opened the establishment in the first week of December. Corbell served only beer at the venue until Feb. 13, when he was issued a liquor license from the state. 


The Loft -- which overlooks the Tombigbee River and has an outside deck for patrons -- is open seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. In addition to a full bar, there is a pool table, two dart boards and often live music. There are dart tournaments on Thursdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. and pool tournaments on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. Also, each Tuesday night is "Military Appreciation Night," when enlisted military personnel receive drink specials. Monday nights are happy hour for men. Wednesday nights are happy hour for women. Karaoke is held on Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights. 


Bands perform at the venue on Friday and Saturday nights. Last Saturday, Shonna Tucker and Eye Candy performed at The Loft. I hate I missed the show. Tucker is a songwriter from north Alabama worth following. To keep track of who is performing at the venue on the river, check out the Facebook page, "The Loft at Rubens."  


Browning on Business is a weekly column that runs each Thursday. We want your input. Send items and tips to [email protected] or [email protected]

William Browning was managing editor for The Dispatch until June 2016.