Tallahatchie Gourmet to expand seating, open restaurant at night

The list of night-time places to eat out in New Albany is about to expand.

The popular lunch-time restaurant, Tallahatchie Gourmet, is preparing to be open at night with a dinner menu at its downtown location, 119 West Main St.

The announcement was made by Angele Mueller, who started the restaurant in 2002, and Jeff Olson, a New Albany alderman, who is joining Mueller as co-owner.

“We have a lot of requests from customers to be open at night,” Mueller said. “We’ve thought about this for the last several months.”

Mueller said she and Olson have been friends for a long time and decided being in business together “would be a good mix.”

“Angele is the creative type and knows all about the food and full-service catering,” Olson said,   adding that he will concentrate on helping with the business-end of the operation.

The restaurant currently serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

By early March, the hours will be expanded to include dinner until 9 p.m. and perhaps later on Friday and Saturday nights, Mueller said.

The restaurant will be closed Sunday, and may not offer dinner on Wednesday nights although no final decision has been made, Mueller said.

The plan is to offer the current menu, which has a New Orleans flair, with the addition of nightly specials, she said. Beer and wine also will be added to the menu, she said.

Popular dishes at the restaurant include shrimp and grits and New Orleans gumbo, as well as other items.

Mueller and Olson have hired William Mills, a local architect, to create a new look for the inside of the restaurant that she described as “modern, contemporary, metro.” Seating will be expanded to about 100 from the current 56, they said.

Employment at the restaurant, which is currently six staff members, is expected to more than double.

Mueller and her husband, Thad, a lawyer and Union County attorney, have lived in the area 16 years. She opened the restaurant and catering business in 2002 on Bankhead Street. Originally it had only four tables. It moved to its current location in July 2009.

The Tallahatchie Gourmet has an extensive catering operation. More than 50 percent of the business is outside Union County, Mueller said.

Olson worked for 13 years in sales for Klinke Brothers Ice Cream of Memphis. Klinke Brothers is a regional franchiser for Baskin Robbins.

 “I’ve always wanted to be in the restaurant business and joining Angele at the Tallahatchie Gourmet is a great opportunity for me,” Olson said.