By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Caney Fork Restaurant could be open within 60 days, if not sooner, said company vice president Josh Weis.
The Nashville-based restaurant is looking to take over several former Santa Fe Cattle Co. sites this year, including locations in Columbus and Tupelo.
“We do not have an exact date, but we anticipate an opening in the next 30 to 60 days,” he said. “We will be opening in Leeds, Ala., and Tupelo very close to one another, but we are not sure at this point in which order.”
Caney Fork serves “authentic casual Southern food” including steaks, Mississippi catfish, barbecue, seafood, fried dill pickles and fried green beans.
Weis said Caney Fork negotiated with the landlord of the former Santa Fe restaurants and “came to terms” to get all of the properties.
‘Our kind of town’
As for opening in Tupelo and Columbus, Weis said “we love the market. We feel Tupelo is a thriving market with the state’s largest hospital, the Toyota plant, us being so close to the mall and we see nothing but upside with the city. We also feel Tupelo is our kind of town. Our great Southern-style fare is perfectly suited for both Columbus and Tupelo. We see it as a perfect marriage.”
Both restaurants will employ about 80 employees, and Weis said former Santa Fe workers are welcome to apply online at caneyforkrestaurant.com.
“We have had over 150 applicants for Columbus in less than 72 hours – just amazing,” he said. “We feel really good about putting people to work.”
Santa Fe in Tupelo closed in September, putting about 65 people out of work. The restaurant on South Gloster Street opened in 2006. The company, based in Brentwood, Tenn., field for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last July and closed several locations.