McAlister's Deli will be opening in Philadelphia sometime next summer, possibly around the time of the Neshoba County Fair.

Ronnie Jones and his partners, Brandon Jones and Tyrone Smith, have purchased the local franchise rights. They intend to build the new restaurant in Canal Place Shopping Center between the Krystal and Aaron’s Rental store.

“We just bought the property so I don’t see construction starting until December or January,” Jones said. “We are working with the architect on the plans. Once that is done, we will put it out for bid.”

Jones said the store would have around 3,600 square feet and should seat about 100 people. When it opens, Jones believes it will employ around 45 people, depending on sales volume and other factors.

McAlister's Deli is a chain of fast casual restaurants founded in 1989 in Oxford by retired dentist Dr. Don Newcomb. There are currently over 400 locations in 26 states.

The menu includes deli sandwiches, "Texas-size" spuds (baked potatoes), soups, salads and desserts, as well as catering items such as sandwich trays and boxed lunches. The chain is also known for its McAlister's Famous Sweet Tea, which is available by the glass or by the gallon.

Jones is no stranger to the food service business here. He has been a part of the Sonic Drive-In business here for 42 years and has been one of the franchise owners for 30 years.

Jones said he and his partners started seriously looking for a new food service business about a year ago,

“I believe we have enough hamburger, chicken and pizza place already here,” Jones said. “We considered sandwiches, gourmet pizza and chicken wings. We looked at all of them and decided sandwiches would be the most popular.”

Jones is proud McAllister’s was started in Mississippi. He said his store will be designed with a gas station look to resemble the original store.

“I thank God for the opportunity for the opportunity,” Jones said. “We have more than 40 years in the food business. McAllister’s is popular. Soon everyone will be able to eat our sandwiches here. With hard work and the good Lord willing, we will be a successful franchise.”

Mayor James Young said he was pleased to hear about the new businesses coming to town.

“We are always pleased to have new businesses come in, especially one as popular as McAllister’s,” Mayor Young said. “It is good to see local business owners providing leadership and reinvesting in our community. I wish them the best and we stand ready to do what we can to help them with their success.”