By Ginna Parsons
TUPELO – If you want a plate-lunch bargain in Tupelo, look no further than Moore’s Kitchen on Eason Boulevard.
The family owned and operated restaurant/convenience store opened last May and the lunch business has taken off. The folks you’ll see in the eatery just about every day are Dale and Kinue Moore, their son, Takashi, their daughter, Terri, and her son, Harley.
“Mama’s the main cook, but we all cook,” said Terri. “And Daddy does the smoking.”
A plate lunch, which includes a meat, two sides, bread, a drink and dessert, is $5.99.
“The plate lunches are our most popular thing, but our Philly cheesesteak sandwiches have picked up and we’re now known for our gumbo,” Takashi said. “And our chicken and dumplings are taking off.”
The restaurant has a set menu every week, which is also available on the Moore’s Kitchen Facebook page.
Monday is fried pork chops, grilled pork chops and chicken spaghetti. Tuesday is smoked chicken, smoked barbecued chicken, meatloaf, and chicken and dumplings. Wednesday is honey-baked ham, grilled ham, gumbo and spaghetti. Thursday is barbecued riblets, smoked riblets and tater tot casserole. Friday is fried catfish and hamburger steak.
Five or six side items are available each day on a rotating basis. They include mashed potatoes, green beans, fried okra, baked beans, potato salad, slaw, broccoli and cheese, corn, stir-fry vegetables, french fries and fried rice.
“Mama’s fried rice isn’t like anyone else’s you’ll get around here,” Takashi said. “The ingredients aren’t standard. We call it MamaSan’s fried rice. It has way more vegetables and different kinds of meat, not just chicken or beef or shrimp. She might add ham or bacon.”
Kinue Moore, or Mama, is from Okinawa, Japan, and the family is planning to add more Asian-inspired dishes to the menu.
“Saturday is our open day,” Takashi said. “We’re slow that day so we play around. You never know what you’re going to get on Saturday.”
“We use the weekends to experiment,” Terri said. “We’re always looking for new ideas and suggestions.”
Most of the restaurants customers are factory workers from nearby businesses, such as Cooper Tire, Truck Center and H&H Truck and Trailer, and the majority of their business is carry-out.
“Most of our customers are regulars,” Takashi said. “Some of them come in here every day to eat.”
Moore’s Kitchen also does a brisk breakfast business. They offer sausage, ham, bacon, chicken and egg and cheese biscuits as well as toast and hash browns. The prices range from 99 cents to $1.49.
“That’s what pulls in a lot of the breakfast crowd,” Takashi said. “Our prices are really low.”
The businesses started out as a plate-lunch restaurant, but gradually they’ve added convenience store items.
“We kind of fell into the convenience store thing,” Takashi said. “That’s something my dad had always wanted to do, so it kind of worked out.”
The two men are also proud to point out their military service: Dale served two tours in Vietnam with the Navy and Takashi served two tours in Iraq with the Army.
“We are veteran-owned and operated,” Takashi said.
In the back of the restaurant are a few tables and booths for eat-in diners. The family is thinking of adding more tables to the convenience store area as the business grows.
“More space wouldn’t hurt,” Takashi said. “We may have to put in some more seats.”
• Where: 2831 Eason Boulevard, across from the VF Factory Outlet.
• When: Monday-Saturday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• What: Breakfast biscuits, plate lunches, sandwiches.
• Info: Call (662) 269-2301 or visit the Moore’s Kitchen Facebook page.