How long will Carol and I be able to dine local?

Sunday, May 27

We made the decision last night while having dinner at Babalu, a locally-owned restaurant in the Fondren district of Jackson.  My wife and I will attempt to eat at only locally-owned restaurants when we dine out – which we do quite often.  How long will it last?

As many of you who follow this blog know, my wife Carol and I are involved in economic development.  That means we are interested in local economies.  News stories abound about how local businesses of all types have been affected by everything from globalization to mergers and acquisitions.  We discussed ways to support local businesses.  That’s a lot more difficult than one would imagine because of imports of just about everything.  After much discussion we decided that one thing we could do would be to choose only locally-owned establishments when we dine out. No national franchises.

As we got deeper into the discussion we realized that this will be no easy task.  Just yesterday we grabbed a sandwich and a salad for lunch at a nearby Subway.  Also, one of Carol’s favorite culinary pleasures is a milk shake from Chik-Fil-A.  I often stop at McDonald’s for a cup of coffee when I’m on the road.  We realized that this is not going to be easy, especially given the fact that both of us travel a fair amount.  So we came up with some rules.  They are as follows:

1.  No nationally-franchised eateries unless they are owned by Mississippians (thank you McAlister’s Deli);

2.  Small purchases, such as a cup of coffee, are not allowed;

3.  Takeout is the same as dining at a restaurant; and

4.  This quest only applies in the State of Mississippi.

I’ll do a weekly blog post on our project, but if you want to follow every meal not eaten at home then you can do so on Twitter, where I’ll tweet every time I eat out.  I’m at @philhardwick.

This should be interesting.  And now we are off for jazz brunch with friends at Table 100, a locally-owned restaurant in Flowood.

7 responses to “How long will Carol and I be able to dine local?

  1. Southeast Ridgeland (where I live) is unique; and I encourage everyone to enjoy dining in what I like to call “the Breadbasket of the Jackson Metro Area.” Whether it’s Mediterranean (Mediterranean Grocery), Chinese (Hunan Wok), Japanese (Kyoto’s), Italian (Amerigo), Fish (Sal ‘N Phil’s and newly opened Dixon’s), Asian (Pan Asia), or Indian (Ruchi India), the “Breadbasket of the Jackson Metro Area” has something for everyone…. AND they are all local (I’d call Amerigo local because they’ve been here for a looooong time). Any suggestions on how we (Ridgeland) can celebrate our diverse menu of places to eat?

    • J. Richardson

      What a great comment, Mr. Hess! I think you should send this to the Mayor and the PR people of Ridgeland-what a cool moniker for that part of Ridgeland.

  2. billy neville

    Phil; DO believe that YOUR LOCAL support IS so timely and SO on target;
    SEE lots & lots of American Made manufacturers COMING BACK & STRONG!!
    example: Tylertown, Mississippi + Leitchfield, Kentucky + Thomson, Georgia…just for starters;
    have recently publised article in MR Magazine (where i wrote editorials for them), Made in America, that was VERY well received;
    so many want to know THE HOW, but don’t seem to know where to begin;
    recent seminar i gave in minnesota area, drew more than 200+ interested;
    lots more if you’d like to hear details;
    thanks for YOUR efforts, & long time special friendship; billy

  3. Charles Hooker

    Phil … Anne and I are with you (if you’ll allow me about once a quarter to grab 4 Krystals with extra mustard, pickles, and onions with fries and a Coke!). We buy our drugs at Beemon’s, groceries at McDade’s, shop Montgomery Hardware instead of Home Depot or Lowe’s, and we won’t even let the wheels of our car touch a Wal-Mart parking lot! And with local eateries like we have in Jackson, dining locally is actually no real sacrifice. If someone really needs “fast food,” tell them about Beatty Street Grocery … they invented the idea!

  4. Phil, for those of us in the business, we all say “THANK YOU”. You and Carol are inspirations.

  5. @Trey Hess FYI, Amerigo is locally-owned. David Conn, who also owns Char, Anjou, and Sombra, lives in Madison. He has partners in Memphis (Ben Brock, born and raised in Jackson), and Nashville (myself, I went to Millsaps and lived in Jackson for 15 years). David was Amerigo’s original General Manager and he hired Ben and I as waiters in 1990. We have owned the company outright since 2009.

    Thanks to all of you that support locally-owned businesses! They are the foundation of this country.

  6. With all due respect…. Many franchisees are local folks who put their money at risk to bring proven successful restaurant concepts to our town. They employ local folks. They buy local produce and supplies. They collect and pay state sales tax. Lots of locally owned real estate folks rent to franchisees. So what if they send 7% of gross sales to the franchiser?

    Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE our local establishments (like Underground 119). But I see no need to throw the others under the bus.

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