Skidmore’s Grill in Shubuta, Mississippi radiates a unique energy with its hospitality, family vibe, and delicious food.  Upon entering the restaurant, I was greeted with a stunning smile and welcoming handshake from Samantha Skidmore.  Quickly trailing behind her was energetic 18-month-old Samuel. Joseph Skidmore, Samantha’s husband, was in the back finishing up the last of the dishes while their four-year-old Emma kept him company.  The entire gang of four joined me as they shared the story of their successful family business.

Joseph, who hails from Jones County, comes from a family of butchers and grocers. As a young boy, he worked in his grandparents’ grocery store.  Working alongside family gave the young Joseph an opportunity to become an expert butcher.  When asked how he became a restaurant owner, Joseph replied, “We all went from cutting meat to cooking.  I don’t know how.  It just happened.”

Joseph works all the magic at the grill, searing fresh-cut ribeyes, old-fashioned hamburgers, and other customer favorites.  Betty Willis, affectionately known as Mrs. Bet, lends a helping hand to Joseph, cooking dishes for breakfast, lunch, and sides for dinner.

What makes Skidmore’s Grill unique is that each steak is cut and prepared to order.

“We don’t have frozen, packaged, pre-cut steaks here.  I actually cut the steaks individually, and the customers get to see it,” Joseph explained proudly, “We don’t cook behind a wall.  We cook right up front on the grill.”

Known for its delicious steaks, the grill can be found teeming with customers eager to sink their teeth into one of their delicious marbled ribeyes on any given Saturday evening.

Skidmore’s Grill hasn’t always been this busy.  Joseph and Samantha opened the restaurant in October of 2010, and business started off slowly, as one would expect in a town with a population of 441.

“For a while, it was just one loyal customer a day,” Samantha revealed.

It was their persistence, great food, and family atmosphere that lifted Skidmore’s on its feet. “We worked everyday for three years straight.  No vacation,” Joseph said.  Their dedication to the family business didn’t stop there:  Samantha gave birth to baby girl Emma on a Saturday, and Emma was at work with mama that Thursday.

As word of their restaurant spread, more and more people started showing up from all over.  People now come from Waynesboro, Quitman, and other surrounding areas to get a taste of greatness.  Since its opening, business has more than tripled. Joseph and Samantha shared what keeps people coming from all over to small-town Shubuta: “We have a different atmosphere.  Here, it’s a family vibe,” Joseph and Samantha agreed, “We are little.  Mistakes happen, but people just respect us.  They see that we’re working.”

When asked why they opened a restaurant in Shubuta, Samantha didn’t hesitate to reply, “Shubuta is home.  I was raised here, and we have family here.  I couldn’t imagine it being any other way.”

Customers ask if they’re expanding, but they are happy where they are.  “This is all we want.  If we get too much, we won’t get to enjoy it,” Joseph said.  “This is what I love about it.  It’s small enough where I can be myself, be a mother, and be a wife all while working,” Samantha added.

If you would like to witness this harmonious family atmosphere and get a taste of the grill’s one-of-a-kind steaks, they are located at 155 East Eucutta Street, Shubuta, MS 39360.

*Story published in Oct./Nov. 2016 issue of eat. drink. Mississippi magazine.

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