By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
Rob Lesley was working at the now-defunct Jefferson Place in 2005 when the idea hit him to buy Romie’s Grocery.
He had been running his own catering service until then.
Now Rob and his wife, Leeann, run Romie’s Grocery, Romie’s BBQ and Rob Lesley Catering.
Leeann handles the business side, while Rob focuses on the cooking.
Romie’s lunch menu emphasizes fresh, made-from-scratch Southern food. Popular items include fried catfish, fried chicken, fried green tomatoes and greens.
The dinner menu is a little more upscale, with steaks, fresh fish, pork chops and oysters.
“We still try to keep the good, Southern, homegrown goodness,” Rob said.
Romie’s BBQ is a two-year-old business that moved this year to Troy Street in downtown Tupelo. It has 25 employees.
“What we really wanted was a good place to get a beer and get barbecue,” Leeann said.
Popular items include barbecue eggrolls, sticky ribs, pulled chicken sandwiches, barbecue nachos, sausage cheese plates and draft beer.
The catering business also keeps the Lesleys busy. They do small events, weddings and large gatherings up to 10,000 people.
“We work so much,” Leeann said. “It’s never ending. God is so good. Somehow we’ve managed to have three businesses and three kids.”
The Lesleys also added managers this year for the first time.
“You never know when you are going to get the offer to feed Poison or Nickelback,” Leeann said. “We’re just better used to the chaos of it.”
– Carlie Kollath
• Owner: Rob and Leeann Lesley
• Address: 804 W. Jackson St.
• Phone: (662) 842-8986
• Website: RomiesGrocery.com
• Employees: 27
• Established: May 2005
• Hours: Open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday through Friday; open for dinner from 5 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday.
• Primary business: Full-service restaurant and catering service.