Downtown Staple Keg and Barrel Plans West Location

By BUSTER WOLFE,

One of Hattiesburg’s iconic restaurants will be expanding along the U.S. Hwy. 98 business corridor when Keg and Barrel adds a new location in West Hattiesburg by September.

Owner John Neal announced the second location on his Facebook page about 3 p.m. Wednesday. Within two hours, the posting had received 1,500 likes and more than 350 comments.

Neal said he plans to expand on the original Keg and Barrel’s success in the second location.

“Our plan is to recreate what we have done at our original location,” he said Wednesday. “Obviously, the charm of the old house is difficult to match, but we are working with very talented people to help us with the design.”

Neal said he will have two partners at Keg and Barrel West – Diana Pennington Hembree and Jim Thompson.

“Diana has been a part of the Keg and Barrel since the beginning,” he said. “She has been the General Manager for the last eight years. Jim has 20 years of restaurant experience and has been consulting for KB for the last six months.”

The investment in the Keg and Barrel West will be between $500,000 and $600,000, not including the purchase of the property. The restaurant will be located at 6 Marketplace Drive in the former Willie T’s location, Neal said.

“The inside dining and outside dining areas will be similar sizes to the original location,” he said. “I’d say 2,000 square feet inside and 4,000 outside. We have grown our sales over the years via our large outdoor area and plan to do this also at the new location.”

The new restaurant will seat from 250-300 people.

“Honestly, with the growth we’ve seen in the last three or four years, the original Keg And Barrel is just not big enough,” Neal said, adding that the new restaurant will not hurt the iconic establishment at 1315 Hardy St. “I have no concerns whatsoever with it hurting the original location.”

The original Keg and Barrel is in a late 19th century home with original woodwork, a wrap-around porch and a tap wall that provides more than 60 beers on draught, 120 beers total. Top-shelf liquor and wine is also available.

Neal said the restaurant’s food offering is special.

“We pride ourselves in our menu that goes far beyond average bar food,” he said on his website. “Food selections combine unique pub flair with traditional Southern foods. Menu favorites include fish and chips, a Keg and Barrel BLT with a fried green tomato, an in-house smoked turkey sandwich with homemade blueberry mayonnaise and our famous chicken and waffles.”

Other classic menu items include Don’s Debris Fries with slow-cooked roast beef debris, cheddar and jack cheeses and green onions served with horseradish sauce; The Dirty Diana Deluxe burger with pepper jack, provolone, American cheeses and bacon, and the Fatty Mcfat fried chicken strips fried tossed in buffalo sauce with blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion on the side.

“Whether you are a true beer connoisseur or a novice to the wonderful world of beer, we have something to match your taste,” Neal said. “This traditionally styled pub offers something for everybody. Our selection of draught beer is unmatched in this area and we welcome you to try them all.”