Varsity Grille closes Tupelo spot

TUPELO – The Varsity Grille inside The Mall at Barnes Crossing has closed.
A sign on the restaurant’s doors said, “To our loyal fans, we apologize but due to current industry trends we have closed.”
The restaurant opened in October in the former Ruby Tuesday location near ULTA.
The Varsity Grille in Oxford remains open, according to a manager. It is in the former Pearl Street Pasta location off the Square.
Tupelo-based Contemporary Restaurants owns the Varsity Grille restaurants, in addition to the Old Venice Pizza restaurants in Tupelo and Starkville.
A company official was unavailable for comment Monday.
Earlier this year, Contemporary Restaurants brought on industry veteran David Steele to oversee the company’s restaurant operations. In a January interview with the Daily Journal, Steele said there were challenges with the identity of the Varsity Grille restaurants.
The Oxford Varsity Grille has a sports-bar atmosphere that fits in well with a university town, Steele said in the interview.
Yet, the Tupelo location originally was billed as a contemporary, upscale restaurant with decor and a menu to match. Steele changed the atmosphere to be more sports-fan friendly with a menu that emphasized burgers, wings, sandwiches and salads.
Dennis Seid contributed to this story. Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal