Southaven-based Wimpy's Burgers & Fries
, with its hand-pressed, griddle-cooked burgers and batter fries, is opening in Midtown sometime around mid-February/early March, according to owner Jacob Crafton.
This, the second Wimpy's, will be on Poplar in the same center as the Home Depot.
Crafton's first restaurant job was as a dishwasher at Outback Steakhouse in Cordova. He then went on to work at a number of chains before eventually becoming a corporate franchise consultant for Lenny's.
One day, he joined his wife for lunch in Southaven at one of her favorite places for a burger: Wimpy's. Crafton says the place was opened "on a whim" by two brothers with no restaurant experience but big plans. By the time they met up with Crafton, they were ready to move on.
Crafton took over the space three years ago, and among the changes: a swap in food vendors and a few tweaks to the menu. Both the turkey and black bean burgers have been greatly received. As for the mahi mahi burger, "we can't hardly give it away," says Crafton.
One big change was to the restaurant's titular Wimpy, based on the old Popeye character, who said, "I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." (Crafton crafted his own tagline for the restaurant, "We'll gladly accept payment today for a hamburger on Tuesday.") The restaurant's image of Wimpy was too close to the Popeye property for Crafton's comfort, so he enlisted an artist to come up with a reimagined Wimpy — younger, trimmer, more millennial.
Crafton had originally wanted a second location in Whitehaven, but couldn't find a place. A real estate agent hooked him up with the Poplar site. The space was once a clothing store, so it's been gutted and a kitchen has been added to the back. It will seat 90 to 100 people.
Burgers at Wimpy's are made to order. The sauces are house-made, the milkshakes hand-spun. The menu has choices but is not overwhelming. That's a lesson learned, says Crafton, from Lenny's Len Moore: keep it simple, stupid.