Weidmann's Restaurant Is "Just Trying to Survive"

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

"We're just trying to survive with what we have," said Weidmann's Restaurant Owner William McGee.

Tough economic times are pounding Weidmann's Restaurant in Meridian.

"We're all suffering," said McGee.

Owner and Chef William McGee says the economic downtown is not a unique situation to his business that's located on 22nd Avenue as every food and retail business in America is feeling the effects. He says Weidmann's is an upscale restaurant with a niche audience. But this fine dining restaurant, with upscale taste and prices, may be between a rock and a hard place. McGee says he's had to cut corners, downsize, and restructure to stay afloat.

"We started off with 25 cooks in the kitchen, now I have myself and one other," said McGee.

McGee says the business reopened in 2002 under his leadership. In 2005, Weidmann's received an award for fine dining, but McGee says the downturn started in 2007. McGee says a huge chuck of business was lost when pharmaceutical companies and local hospitals scaled back in budgetary spending, cutting out company dinners which was nearly 50 percent of the restaurants business.

"We used to do lunches, catering to the hospitals, 1500 hundred people at the state hospital, Anderson's, Riley, Regency's, all those been cut out," McGee said.

And that has raised concern among the Alliance for the Downtown Meridian and Chairman Barbaree Heaster recently sent out a mass e-mail encouraging residents to eat there at least once a week in efforts to rally community support.

In the e-mail, Heaster said quote, "We can't let one of Meridian's fine and historic restaurants close."

McGee says there is a lot of history within these walls as the the restaurant open in the late 1800's and carries the Weidmann's family name. But McGee says he realizes with the current recession, everyone is pinching their pennies.

He says there are nightly specials and the restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 in the evening to 10 at night. McGee says he tried opening during lunch hours but it wasn't profitable.

But he says despite the current situation, he will stick it out as he believes in the Weidmann's name, the history, and he's hoping the future will look better.

"As long as Meridian will have us, we will stay," said McGee.

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  • by Anonymous Location: Meridian on Mar 24, 2012 at 04:36 PM
    I ate there a couple months ago and had a soft shell crab sandwich. It was terrible! I couldn't eat it. We decided to go back last night. That was a fatal mistake as the service was awful. We were treated terribly bad by a manager/owner when we questioned the service. My observation is the "old Weidmann's" is gone. The new version in no way compares to the old. Customers would never be mistreated. I'm not saying that everyone that works there is unprofessional, but the ones I dealt with that night were. I will not go back and would encourage you to do the same.
  • by Dawn Location: Laurel, MS on Apr 21, 2009 at 08:02 AM
    My husband and I have had dinner at Weidmann's several times over the last couple of years. We continue to go back not only because of the excellent food but the professional and friendly service we receive. No where in Meridian or Laurel for that matter can we be taken care of so well. Keep truckin' Weidmann's!
  • by Anonymous Location: Meridian on Apr 20, 2009 at 07:29 PM
    The people of Merdian are not in the right century. They don't get the food. They are satisfied with eating slop on a plate as long as it's under $10. They wouldn't know good natural ingredients, prepared correctly, if it hit them in the face. It's sad, but no restaurant of any caliber will ever be successful in Meridian.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 20, 2009 at 10:43 AM
    Don't be fooled. Willie doesn't own Weidmann's, the investors do!
  • by Anonymous on Apr 19, 2009 at 09:47 AM
    Investors are too headstrong to implement any productive changes. They would rather burn money.
  • by Carson on Apr 19, 2009 at 05:20 AM
    Maybe you shouldnt charge 30 dollars for a spaghetti plate genius! Anyone who eats there and pays those outrageous prices are not very wise. Who cares about its historical value. Thats why the chain rest are packed out and weidmans is sinking. They are not inl ine with what people can afford to pay. If You want customers junior, you have to price it Right. Geeez, Stop the blaming the recession
  • by Likes Weidmans Location: Marion on Apr 18, 2009 at 05:39 PM
    One complaint that I have heard from several people in town is that the menu at Weidmans never seems to change. If you are going to drop $100-200 on a meal there needs to be more variety. The food is good, but it seems like it is always the same.
  • by me Location: meridian on Apr 18, 2009 at 05:30 PM
    "We can't let one of Meridian's fine and historic restaurants close." That happened along time ago when the peanut butter left the tables!
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