When Harvey’s restaurant in Tupelo was closed during the summer for five weeks beginning in July for remodeling, some Harvey’s loyal customers were not happy.
Linda Edge, who has been eating at Harvey’s for more than 20 years, was disappointed to hear they would be closed for more than a month.
“My husband and I usually go to Harvey’s at least once a month,” she said, “and we were both shocked to hear that they were going to be closed for that long. Harvey’s is a Tupelo favorite, and so I can imagine there were tons of people upset knowing they would have to go a month without Harvey’s famous Broccoli Bites.”
Managing Partner Pat Campeau said they chose July because it is the restaurant’s slowest month.
“We just completely redid the kitchen, dining room, bar area, and restrooms,” Campeau said. “It was important to keep the parts of the restaurant that customers really liked, such as the privacy of the booths and the areas to seat large groups.”
Edge was impressed. “Walking into Harvey’s was like walking into a completely different restaurant in a super good way,” she said.
Harvey’s opened in Tupelo in the spring of 1989. Campeau has lived in Tupelo for 25 years, worked at Harvey’s for 30 and been in the restaurant business for 40 years. He began working at Harvey’s in Starkville as a student at Mississippi State University.
Campeau chose Harvey’s “because at the time, Harvey’s was the busiest restaurant in Starkville, Mississippi, so it just made sense to work there.”
He became the manager at the first-ever Harvey’s location in Starkville. Years later, he was offered a manager position at the Tupelo location. A couple years later, he became the general manager. Five years later, he traveled, managing all Harvey’s locations. There are three Harvey’s locations in the area, including Tupelo, Columbus and Starkville.
“I think Harvey’s has a special meaning to Tupelo because it was one of the first fine dining restaurants, and it has a pretty long history with the clientele here,” Campeau said. “I like to think Harvey’s has an impact on the culture of Tupelo because it is a good restaurant that everyone knows about, and I think people feel confident recommending Harvey’s as a place to eat.”
Campeau said the restaurant has thrived since the remodeling. “We doubled our sales the first week we were reopened,” says Campeau, “and it was even bigger the second week we were open.”
It has been around two months since the reopening. Campeau said Harvey’s has more than made up for lost sales while they were closed for those five weeks. He thinks it will be worth it in the long run.
“It is a challenge every day for a restaurant that size to be able to provide great service, great food in a timely manner, and I like a challenge,” said Campeau, “so that is definitely worth getting up for every day. Working in the restaurant industry, you have the opportunity to touch a lot of people, and not just guests, but by teaching people good working habits and good service skills”
He said it helps that Harvey’s is located in what used to be the Coca-Cola bottling plant. He hopes to continue improving Harvey’s and doing what it takes to make sure it stays a Tupelo favorite.