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Browning on Business: New speakeasy to open in downtown Starkville


William Browning

William Browning



William Browning



A new bar is coming to downtown Starkville. 


The Guest Room is slated to open next month. It will be located in the refurnished basement of Restaurant Tyler, which is located at 100 E. Main St. 


The renovation process began in early May, according to Brian Kelley, who along with Chef Ty Thames, opened Restaurant Tyler six years ago. 


Kelley said The Guest Room will be a 40-seat cocktail bar that will feature food options, too. It will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. 


"The space will be available to larger parties for private dining requests and presentations the remainder of the week," Kelley said. 


The watering hole will be a "bar for grown-ups," Kelley added. It will have an evolving menu of seasonal cocktails made with local ingredients. Kelley said they plan on "applying the farm to table concept to glass." 


The place will also carry a "speakeasy" vibe. The entrance will be in the alley behind Restaurant Tyler; there will only be a discreetly placed small sign advertising the spot; there will be a wooden floor and copper bar; and the basement's exposed brick walls -- constructed more than a century ago -- will be a focal point of the decor. 


Kelley and Thames also have a restaurant called Tyler Upstairs above Restaurant Tyler. The spot was formerly occupied by Zorba's Greek Tavern.  


Tyler Upstairs will eventually feature live music on weekends and a more casual atmosphere than Restaurant Tyler, according to Kelley. It is open seven days a week for lunch and on Tuesdays through Saturday it is open for dinner. 


Kelley and Thomas have roughly 45 employees at the restaurants. 


Meanwhile, in Caledonia a new Dollar General is being built on Wolfe Road, right across from the current Dollar General. 


Joclyn Dees, a communications specialist with the Tennessee-based retail chain, confirmed that the business will open in early August. Construction began last month. 


The store will be approximately 8,400 square feet. It will be a DG-Plus format, according to Dees. 


"The main difference is that the larger format offers double the cooler space with a wider selection of frozen and refrigerator food," she said. 


The store will employ six to 10 people. 


Dees said there are currently 10 Dollar Generals in Lowndes County. 


Finally, an update on the local Severstal steel plant. 


The Dispatch reported in early May that the Russia-based company, which owns a facility on 1,400 acres near Airport Road that makes steel out of scrap metal, had put its two U.S. operations on the auction block. (The steelmaker's other North American plant is in Michigan.) 


Severstal CEO Alexey Mordashov told Bloomberg and CNBC that while the company is accepting bids for the locations, it does not mean that they will be sold. The sites are both profitable, Mordashov said.  


According to American Metal Market, bids for the operations are in the $2.5 billion to $2.8 billion range. Four bidders are believed to be in the running, according to American Steel Market. Two of the bids have come from U.S. companies, while one has come from Brazil and the other has come from Japan. 


No matter what happens, the Columbus location isn't going anywhere, according to Joe Max Higgins, the CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK. Higgins said the plant is "too new, too efficient" for anyone to want to close it. 


The Lowndes County facility, which employs roughly 650 people, is believed to be worth more than the Michigan facility.


William Browning was managing editor for The Dispatch until June 2016.



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