By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – After more than a two-year wait, Mugshots Grill & Bar should be open next spring in the Fairpark District.
The popular restaurant chain, which is known for its specialty burgers, opened its first location in Hattiesburg in 2004. The Tupelo location was originally scheduled to open in December 2012.
“We’re coming,” said spokesman Will Taylor.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Friday at 11 a.m. on the property, which is adjacent to the Renasant Center for IDEAs on Main Street and across from the Hilton Garden Inn.
“We couldn’t be more excited about bringing the Mugshots brand to Tupelo, and at the same time helping further the development of the downtown area,” said franchise owner Johnny Robbins.
Century Construction is the contractor on the project.
“It’s an exciting time for the Mugshots brand and family,” said Mugshots Grill & Bar chief operating officer Chris Banchero. “We’re extremely excited about taking the Mugshots brand to the Tupelo area and becoming part of the local community.”
Franchise owners Ben and Johnny Robbins formed Slow’s Eateries LLC in September 2011 and the following year bought the land, which had been the planned site for Oby’s restaurant.
When Oby’s franchisees didn’t develop the land, the Tupelo Redevelopment Agency exercised its right to buy back the land for the original sales price of $265,800.
Slow’s Eateries bought the land in October 2012 for $220,000.
Johnny Robbins also owns Papa V’s.
Last year, there was some speculation the restaurant wouldn’t be built, but Johnny Robbins downplayed the talk, citing the price of the land, plus architectural and design fees.
Taylor said more details would be announced at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Mugshots also will be announcing on Friday a partnership with the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society for the company’s “Eat Good, Give Back” fundraising event that will be held before the restaurant’s opening day.
Mugshots currently has 11 locations in three states. Two stores will open later this year and another will open early next year before the Tupelo store opening.