Written by Sherry Lucas | Photographed by Joe Ellis
Go out to eat and dinner on the plate is your primary concern. But much of the behind-the-scenes nuts-and-bolts of getting it there? Hotel & Restaurant Supply likely had a hand in.
Hotel & Restaurant Supply, started in Meridian in 1953 by Mason Greene’s grandfather, Percy Greene, now includes locations in Meridian (corporate headquarters), Jackson (some corporate functions), Gulfport, Memphis, Nashville and Tuscaloosa, plus a stainless steel fabrication company in Savannah, Tennessee. His father, CEO Jerry Greene in Meridian, is starting his 51st year in the business. Mason Greene became company president this past April and is in Jackson long-term.
Mason Greene and Guin Kendrick, business development with Hotel & Restaurant Supply, are Fondren residents and even brothers-in-law. Their wives, Grace Bateman Greene and Sarah Bateman Kendrick, are sisters who grew up in Fondren.
Hotel & Restaurant Supply caters to the food service industry from concept to completion, design to dinnerware.
Kendrick’s background, “perfect for what we do,” he says, includes the restaurant business, construction (an electrician by trade) and sales. Coworkers’ cumulative restaurant experience adds valuable consulting expertise for customers, “any way we can help.”
A ton of details go into planning a restaurant space, for cooking and everything that supports it — areas for receiving, storage, refrigeration, dry goods, prep, cook line, expo line, bar needs, etc. The goal: getting the most efficient layout for the concept and flow to deliver the food safest, cleanest, fastest.
“Other than the food, the drink and the paper goods, that’s what we do,” Kendrick says.
Historic areas such as Fondren mean more challenges and innovation, whether it’s locating a crane to get the wood-fired oven in at Saltine, Babalu moving into a former elementary school classroom or pouring a new floor at Barrelhouse.
In Fondren, “it’s fun and fascinating to see all the different types of restaurants in our immediate little area,” Greene says — burger joint, fine dining, ethnic foods and more. “It’s just amazing, the concentration.
“We’re very blessed and thankful to be a part of what we feel like our customers are doing in the community, and helping them with what they’re creating.”
Fondren’s “middle of everything” appeal was key for Kendrick, who relishes being walking distance to fun events, grocery, daycare, post office and restaurants. The people are key, too. “They each play their own part in the big picture, and I think that’s true of our customers in the restaurants and even the hospitals there in Fondren. …The different concepts bring their own flavor to that.” It’s convenient, it’s cohesive, it’s neighborly, it’s home.
Kendrick uses the term “coopertition” to describe Fondren’s restaurant scene, pulling in more people collectively who will choose one option one day, another the next. They work together to help people gather.
Hotel & Restaurant Supply’s outlook looks brighter and bigger as well, with a hoped-for move into a larger facility down the street on Industrial Drive. The plan is to create a destination and resource for their culinary community, with a nicer test kitchen and bigger showroom for a first-class experience for customers, Greene says.