By Sheryl Oswalt
My motto for this month will be, “Don’t believe everything you read.” I’ll be honest and say that I have put off reviewing the Main Street Pub because of the poor reviews I’ve read on-line and rumors of continual staff changes. From what I experienced, that’s old news. Not only does it have a new logo and a fresh coat of paint, it has a new staff prepared to make the restaurant the “go to” place for families in Vicksburg. The family-owned and operated Housler restaurant group started in Kalamazoo in 1989 and has grown to 12 locations in Michigan and Indiana. It made 208 E Prairie Street in Vicksburg part of the family of restaurants on March 27, 1990.
It sounds to me that the reason it has experienced change and turnover is because of a serious commitment to making this location successful. I think this time it has a winning combination. I met with the new manager, John Mazur-Baker and kitchen manager Dustin Marshall. John has only been at the Vicksburg location for a month, but his commitment is clear. He’s purchased a home and moved his family to Vicksburg. This is serious business; failure is not an option. Dustin lives locally and has been here for 6 months. He’s noticeably passionate about food and is very excited about participating in upcoming events in Vicksburg such as the Taste of Vicksburg.
Following a “Golden Rule” of meeting three new friends every day, you will find the staff all very friendly and attentive. During our interview, John couldn’t help himself and was jumping up when patrons came in to greet them and get beverages immediately. John has not only jumped into his new position; he’s also joined the local fire department.
In interviewing our local eating establishments, I have yet to find one that doesn’t do a great job of giving back and recognizing the value of community. What Main Street does is special–it offers a 10 percent discount to all Local Heroes. That includes those serving in the military, veterans, police, EMS and firefighters. Word has it that on Thursday nights (half price nacho night) you might just find our local South County firefighters there. In addition to the Local Hero discount, the restaurant offers a free brownie sundae to any youth in a sports jersey.
Since Dustin has been on staff, the restaurant has participated in the chili cook off and hosted an Easter egg hunt. For the upcoming car show on June 11, it’s opening early and putting on additional staff to serve you. Dustin is planning a special breakfast menu to start serving up at 9 a.m. You’ll find it offers four daily lunch specials and four dinner specials with one of each remaining consistent; for example, one of Thursday’s specials will always be Thanksgiving dinner. While the menu is very extensive and consistent throughout the chain, Housler is very flexible in allowing the cooks to experiment and personalize their own house specials in addition to the standard Main Street fare. Dustin is what I would call “home-schooled”. He proudly indicated that most of what he knew and loved about cooking he learned from his mother. He whipped me up an outstanding wet burrito, one of their best sellers. I think I was all surprised to hear that his homemade sloppy joes are also very popular. Other popular items are the ranch fritter wrap, gourmet mac and cheese and grilled steak kabobs made with sirloin steak. Whether you’re looking for a burger, salad, sandwich or even meatloaf, the restaurant has something for everyone. I’m currently working my way through the wrap menu.
Don’t forget that Main Street Pub also has a banquet room available for special events for up to 150 people. That room is available for use at no charge with the purchase of food and beverages from the restaurant. I would say with certainty that the restaurant has the largest dining facility in Vicksburg. Whether you prefer the seating of a conventional family style restaurant or are looking for drinks at the bar or patio, Main Street Pub has something for everyone. Check it out!