Randy and JoAnn McCollum are co-owners of Simmer Down in Baldwyn, which is located at 690 Grisham Street, off U.S. Highway 45
The former Country Inn in Baldwyn has new owners, a new look, new hours and a revamped menu.
Simmer Down is the new name of the restaurant, which opens next Thursday, Sept. 21 at 5 p.m.
Not to worry – the famous “steak for two” stays, with the same seasonings and everything.
The owners are Randy McCollum and his sister-in-law, JoAnn McCollum. While they had thought about opening a restaurant one day, neither had immediate plans to do so. But that changed during a cookout.
“It started out as kind of a joke,” Randy said. “My brother and I were grilling out and he said, ‘let’s open a restaurant.’ I’m was like, ‘yeah, sure.’ But he said let’s call it Simmer Down. Nothing else was said about it, but a couple days later, a friend told me Country Inn was for sale. It just kind of happened.”
JoAnn said she thought her husband and brother-in-law were kidding when they told here they were buying her a restaurant.
“I go on vacation, and they buy a restaurant,” she said. “So here we are.”
The restaurant is located at 690 Grisham Street off the Baldwyn exit off U.S. Highway 45. The County Inn got its start about 30 years ago.
Work is almost finished inside the building, where new flooring and lighting have been installed.
Randy has had extensive experience in the restaurant business, including the past 16 years at a national steakhouse chain. JoAnn has had experience working at the Hilton Garden Inn and the BancorpSouth Conference Center, where she got accustomed to catering for 50 to 800 people. Combining their skills and experience, they’re going to give Simmer Down their best shot.
“I’ve always wanted an event center or something to do with this,” she said. And they might add such a place next to the restaurant since they also bought some of the land around it.
But getting Simmer Down up and rolling its the first priority.
Cooking will be handled by Randy and JoAnn.
Randy’s experience started with Vanelli’s, followed by O’Charley’s and then the corporate steak restaurant.
“This is the first restaurant for me and for JoAnn,” he said. “And I think it’s going to be great. Good food, good service, good hospitality …. they can expect the best food around and a very diverse menu. We’ve spent hours and weeks researching what people want.”
Whole and filet catfish along with steak are on the menu, but Randy said a prime aged Angus ribeye is the signature steak.
“It’s not very prominent around this area, and it costs a little more, but people deserve a good steak,” he said. “We’ll also have a 14-ounce New York strip, fall-off-the-bone ribs, pork chops and chicken just about any way you want it. We have a moonshine-glazed chicken that’s served over rice, for example. It’s going to be killer.
“It’s going to be great food fast.”
A kids menu is available, and beer will be served (in glass mugs only). No liquor will be served.
“We’ve got a more extensive menu, but prices have also gone down,” Randy said.
“We’ve hired some good staff, too,” JoAnn said. While hiring has been completed – about 25 people have been hired – they continue to accept applications.
• Lunch hours of the restaurant will be Sunday-Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a cafeteria-style lunch menu offered. A meat and two sides with a drink is $8 Monday-Friday, but goes up to $10 on Sunday.
• Dinner (or supper if you prefer) hours are Wednesday from 5 p.m. top 9 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
After opening for dinner next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Simmer Down will begin serving lunch on Sunday, Sept. 24.
Simmer Down has a Facebook page, and its phone number is (662) 214-3080.
“We’re all about catering and parties, too,” Randy said. Some Christmas parties already have been booked, JoAnn said.