Restaurant plans August opening

Published 8:18 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

James McGhee said he’d just like to see a few more restaurantsin town.

“I just wish we had a few more places to go,” said McGhee, whohas lived in Brookhaven since he moved here from Hattiesburg in2006.

It looks like he’s about to get at least a little bit of thatwish.

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By mid-August, there will be one more option, as the oldCelebrations building will be housing a new Fox’s Pizzafranchise.

“I’ve been to the one in McComb,” McGhee said. “Me and my familywill probably go there a good bit when it gets here.”

Randy and Judy Eckman, the owners of the franchise, are also theowners of the McComb restaurant. Randy Eckman said they were sopleased with the outcome of that store that when Brookhavenresident Terry Pappas dropped them a line to say that a goodlocation was available, it seemed like a good time to act.

“We’ve always planned to grow, but not quite this fast,” RandyEckman said. “We had been up here looking at locations, and when wesaw this, it has a lot of character. Plus, we love the Brookhavendowntown area.”

Eckman said the spot on the corner of Monticello Street andWhitworth Avenue is perfect for his restaurant, and could possiblyprove to do more business than his store in McComb.

“It’s so much more active than McComb,” he said of the downtownbusiness district. “I love being this close to the high school, tothe school of the arts, the movie theatre. We love the apartmentconcept you have here. When we got this opportunity, we decided tomove up our time frame.”

Brookhaven’s Will Miller said he’s just happy to see developmentdowntown.

“I’m glad they’re putting something on this corner,” he said.”It’s too good of a location to waste it.”

At this point, Eckman said, renovations are under way inside thestore, and applications are being taken for employees. Hopefully,the restaurant will be in full swing by August 9.

Eckman said Fox’s will be a place where Brookhaven residents cango and feel at home.

“This is a franchise that’s been around for 40 years, and wehave an outstanding product,” he said. “But they allow us to havethe autonomy in the site and the decoration, so we’re going to giveit a real hometown atmosphere. Our service will be more personalthan other places, and we have more of a gourmet line ofpizza.”

And if pizza isn’t your poison, he said, there’s plenty else tochoose from.

“We have a broad enough menu that there’s something foreveryone, but not enough to complicate the choice,” he said. “We’retrying to create an atmosphere where we will draw from a variety ofclientele, which we’ve achieved in McComb.”

Sarah Owens, 17, of Summit, said she’s ready for a newrestaurant because it will give her and her friends a place tosocialize.

“It’s like it’s just hard to find somewhere you want to sit andhang out sometimes,” she said. “A new pizza place would becool.”

But, Eckman said, he expects to see people of all ages.

“This isn’t a teenage hangout, nor a fine dining establishmentto appeal only to adults,” he said. “We want to appeal to everyone,that’s what we strive for. And if we do our job right, when youwalk out the door, you’ll say, ‘That was the best pizza I everhad.'”