By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
Richey’s Gun Shop isn’t exactly easy to get to.
From Tupelo, you take Highway 6 into Pontotoc, and then get on Highway 15 South to Algoma. Turn right at the sign for Seafood Junction and when you get into town, turn left on Macedonia Road. Go another 1.8 miles and turn left onto a gravel road.
Just when you think you’ve made a wrong turn, Richey’s Gun Shop will appear on your right.
The fact that the business isn’t real easy to get to or convenient for many customers is precisely why Richey Crew decided to put a lunch counter on one side of the shop that sells rifles, pistols, hunting accessories, muck boots, knives and cookers, among other things.
“We’re so far out of town, and people would come in here on their lunch break to pick up a gun or some hunting gear and they’d say, ‘Man, you ain’t even got a pack of crackers to sell?’ and that’s when it all started,” said Crew, who co-owns the shop with Steve Parrish.
So a couple of years ago, Crew and his friend Johnny Crawford teamed up to make barbecue with all the fixings for customers to enjoy. Often while they were cooking the Boston butts, they’d throw a stick of bologna on the grill to munch on.
And their accidental snack – Bloomin’ Bologna – became an overnight sensation.
“We’d take a stick of bologna and cut it four times,” Crew explained. “Then we’d cut it up like a checkerboard and sprinkle seasonings down in it. Somebody said, ‘Man, that looks like one of those Bloomin’ Onions from Outback. So that’s how it got its name – Bloomin’ Bologna.”
Friday is the only day you can get this Southern delicacy.
“On Friday, there will be people that will drive 40 to 50 miles to eat our bologna,” Crew said. “They wait in line to sit down on Fridays. They’ll go eat on the porch or wait for somebody to get up.”
Nachos popular, too
Crew’s wife, Sherry, and Parrish’s wife, Twila, help prepare the food and serve customers.
“If it wasn’t for Sherry and Twila, we wouldn’t have all this,” said Crew, who has been in the gunsmithing business for 29 years. “The lunch counter started out secondary and has gotten bigger and bigger. Some days it just gets out of hand.”
The gun shop has two tables, seating a total of nine people, and six stools at the counter. In the off season, the ladies will serve about 20 people at lunch. During gun season, they’ll get 50 or 60 customers and on Fridays, they’ll usually serve 100.
“I had one boy tell me, ‘I ain’t coming here to eat no more. I’ve done been here three times for lunch and spent $3,000,” Crew said, laughing. “See he’d eat and then he’d walk over and see a gun or a scope he had to have, so he’d buy it.”
The second best-seller behind the Bloomin’ Bologna is the Barbecue Nachos Supreme, which are made up of nacho chips, barbecued pork, armadillo beans, white Mexican pepper cheese, sour cream and jalapeño pepper rings.
“We call our baked beans armadillo beans, but it’s just a silly name we came up with,” Crew said. “Everybody worries, though, because they think there’s armadillo in them, but there’s not.”
The men cook their barbecue with maple chips instead of hickory for a unique, mild flavor, and they make their own barbecue sauce.
“It’s tomato-based, a Mississippi-style that’s sweet and spicy,” Crew said. “We tried vinegar and we tried mustard and we tried St. Louis-style, but this is what works for us.”
They also sell hamburgers, sandwiches and desserts.
“We’ve got a seven-layer pie, an apple pie, brownies and a chocolate fudge pie,” Crew said. “On that fudge pie, you put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it and it’ll make a rabbit pull a plow.”
Richey’s Gun Shop
Where: 1947 Macedonia Road in Algmoa
When: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Satuday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch is generally served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What’s there: All manner of hunting gear, as well as barbecue, nachos, sandwiches and burgers. The Bloomin’ Bologna is served only on Fridays – for now.