Grill plays key role in today’s revelry

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Today is more than shooting fireworks for the Fourth – it’s also about firing up the grill.
And for William Gardner of Verona that means having plenty of food for plenty of family and friends to celebrate Independence Day. He was loading up his cart Tuesday at Todd’s Big Star.
“We’ve got ribs, pork chops, hamburgers, hot dogs. … We’re expecting a lot of people,” he said.
Today is expected to be another hot, dry day, but that won’t deter Gardner from throwing a party.
To cool things off, he bought ice cream and watermelon.
“We’re going to have a good time,” he said. “Come on over.”
For grocers, butcher shops and restaurants, the Fourth of July is usually a boon.
Customers get what they need for the backyard barbecue, buying meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, drinks and whatever else is needed to celebrate the day.
But with the Fourth falling in the middle of the week, Americans will likely spend less, according to a Visa survey.
The report, released Sunday, said spending will drop 12 percent to an average of $191, compared to $216 last year.
Midwesterners will spend the most, about $211 a person, followed by Westerners at $200, Southerners at $182 and Northeasterners at $171.
Seth Copeland, co-owner of The Neon Pig in Tupelo, said there hasn’t been much drop-off in what shoppers want at the combination restaurant and butcher.
“Lots of people are getting the smash grind,” he said, referring to the mixture of trimming from the other meats, including ribeye, sirloin, New York strip and filet mignon. Also added is smoked bacon. “It’s our best-seller.”
The bash grind is ground brisket, another hot seller.
“And we keep a lot of fresh seafood from the Gulf. It all comes from there, except for the Ahi tuna,” he added.
The shop also sells fresh produce, much of it grown locally, and other food items.
dennis.seid@journalinc.com