By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – For Timothy Topps, selling food is a means to an end.
Topps, the owner of A Taste of Soul in downtown Tupelo, wants the place to become an entertainment venue for people of all ages, in addition to serving fresh homemade soul food.
“On Thursday nights, we have a Spades tournament; on Fridays, we have teen jam sessions; and on Saturday we have old-school music from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s,” he said.
A Sunday brunch is offered, and a disc jockey spins gospel music to set the tone.
Topps’s vision is to have a mini-version of the House of Blues, where food and entertainment mix.
But he says getting the word out about his business has been tougher than expected.
Topps has owned several businesses in Tupelo, including a prom dress and tuxedo rental that’s reopening next year. He also opened De Lighthouse, a Christian nightclub two years ago, but it closed.
Topps said he learned some important lessons from that venture, but declined to talk about them on the record. Instead, he hopes customers will come in for his food, as well as the entertainment.
“The food is good – we haven’t had one complaint about it since we opened a couple months ago,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people tell us how good it is. We just need more customers.”
The restaurant serves a meat-and-two-sides plate with bread for $6.99, as well as menu items including fried wings, fried polish sausages, burgers and hot dogs. All-you-can-eat wings after 5 p.m. for $13.99 and a drink also is available.
Starting Jan. 2, A Taste of Soul will start serving breakfast, including 75-cent coffee and 89-cent sausage and biscuits, he said. Also at the first of the year, the restaurant will start serving beer and light wine.
Topps said he plans to employ 25 people once the restaurant and entertainment business picks up.
“We want to help reduce the unemployment in the area,” he said.
Owner: Timothy Topps
Address: 316 N. Spring Street, Tupelo (former Downtown Deli)
Phone: (662) 842-4998
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.