RIPLEY • A new restaurant is currently in the works for Ripley. Owner Rob Hodges has worked tirelessly to remodel what used to be Capanski’s restaurant so that his dream for his small town can become a reality. Grace Eatery is scheduled to open soon and will not only offer Ripley a new place to eat with the family but opportunities for youth and others needing a place to belong.

Rob began laying out the blueprints for Grace Eatery in late November of 2019. He is the director of local non-profit, Leadership is Servanthood and wanted to offer something to Ripley that hasn’t been done yet while also including his charity work.

“This is not just a restaurant. This is bigger than just a restaurant,” said Hodges. “There are so many things we could do in Mississippi, and we certainly know since being number one in poverty and number one in obesity that we wanted to start with a food place. You’ll see our intent and concept behind our restaurant is for people to be able to afford it, to be able to support our staff and to be able to give back to our community. That’s why we are called Grace.”

Focusing on nutrition and offering cleaner menu choices is also a goal of Grace Eatery and Café.

“What we will offer will not only be good to the tongue and taste, but good to the body as well,” explained Hodges.

The Grace menu is currently under construction. Once unveiled, you can expect to see a wide variety of options with things like a veggie burger, gluten-free options, specialty coffees, and even fresh juices.

The building Grace is located in has nothing less than potential and space. Being a two-story location, the Grace team plans to use the downstairs for normal seating and serving. It will also feature a grab-and-go space for the coffee shop and marble slab ice cream station.

The upstairs will be the highlight of the whole restaurant,” says Hodges.

Up a beautiful grand staircase is the lounge area, which will also be used for over-flow seating of the breakfast and lunch area downstairs. Another fun perk of Grace’s upstairs area will be Tuesday night trivia and other family-friendly nights featuring poetry and comedy.

Helping with the development of Ripley’s newest treasure is David Wilson of New Albany. Wilson has helped launch multiple restaurants in North Mississippi and seemed to be the right person for the job, according to Hodges. Wilson has assisted with a wide range of projects for Grace Eatery, from being the creativity behind the menus to the renovations the building required before the grand opening. David has done a lot of work not only to the interior of the building but also in creating a come-one-come-all esthetic.

“We want everyone to feel comfortable at Grace and no one to feel excluded. This is definitely the place where you can come in a suit, or you can come in wearing flip flops. You can come for a business meeting or bring the whole family in,” said Wilson. “I’ve done this a few times now, and it’s exciting. I’ve always loved food and beverage because it’s, as I say, a universal language. I don’t have to speak your language, and you don’t have to speak mine for us to come together and have a great connection over a great meal. We all need food, and we can all come together and smile and laugh around a great plate of food.”

Grace was created as a community project, and Hodges says it has brought many people together. The community has come out to support and help in as many ways possible. However, a restaurant is just scratching the surface for what the business partners plan to do in Ripley. Other projects on the horizon are a community garden, a community center, and more outreach projects to help local youth be more involved in helping others.

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