About a dozen commercial properties were damaged by the tornado that hit Tupelo on Nov. 5, and one of the most severely damaged was Chili’s Grill & Bar.
While some surrounding restaurants and businesses had their windows blown out, the north-facing wall of Chili’s was shifted some 18 inches, which affected the structural integrity of the building.
But after six weeks of work, the wall was repaired, and while the crews were add it, some updates were also done to the restaurant’s interior.
Chili’s reopened on Wednesday, even as construction crews were putting some finishing touches on the building.
Restaurant employees, some of whom were without their jobs, greeted diners warmly, and it was back to business as usual.
Chili’s opened the Tupelo location in 2003. The chain got its start in Dallas in 1975 and is now part of Brinker International. According to the Brinker website, “In 1983, Chili’s attracted the attention of Norman Brinker, one of the restaurant industry’s pre-eminent leaders and under his leadership; we went public that same year. In 1995, Maggiano’s Little Italy joined the Brinker International family. ”
Brinker has nearly 1,700 restaurants and employs more than 100,000 people in the United States, 31 countries and two territories. As of Sept.30, Brinker had 1,634 Chili’s locations and 52 Maggiano’s locations.
Chili’s has 12 locations in Mississippi (Batesville, D’Iberville. Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson, Madison, Meridian, Olive Branch , Oxford, Petal, Southaven and Tupelo).