Categorized | Business

With the Marcello family in charge, Old Timers keeps the flavor of Millington

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Old Timers Marcello 1 Old Timers Marcello 2

Jeremy & Joey Marcello

Jeremy & Joey Marcello

The man from New Orleans was only supposed to be in Flag City for a few months.
But chef turned owner of Old Timers Restaruant, Joey Marcello, found it hard to say, “No,” to the late W.S. Babe Howard.
Brought to Millington in 1997, Marcello was originally scheduled to work at the eatery that opened in 1985 for three or four months. Then a conversation with Howard stretched Marcello’s stay to six months.
Then one more talk with Howard ended in a handsake deal with Marcello taking command of the everyday operations at Old Timers. That agreement was also when Howard gave Marcello his word that he would be the owner of the restaruant one day.
“He had put me on several projects that he had going on at the time,” Marcello recalled. “We just became close. We were like family. His kids are like family to me. We all got along very well. After his passing, I took on more responsibility at the Phone Company and here at the restaurant too.
“The children started the process on turning over ownership off the handsake deal,” he continued. “Mr. Howard’s Estate was very large so it took some time to process it all. It was done officially in 2012.”
Through his work with the Millington Telephone Company and Old Timers, the elder Marcello was able to build a solid reputation with area residents. His reputation also allowed for the transition to place smoothly and almost unnoticed.
“I’ve been the face here (Old Timers) so long, I don’t know if a lot of people really even knew,” Marcello noted. “We didn’t make an official announcement.
“It was no reason to announce it,” he continued. “I’ve been here for so many years already. It was just another day at the office.
Now Marcello and his wife Wanda and elder son Jeremy are parteners of Old Timers. The youngest Marcello, Joseph, just graduated from Millington Central High School and will attend The University of Memphis.
The family, along with several Millington residents, endured the loss of Howard in July 2008. Marcello played a part in settling the large Howard estate including the sell of the Telephone Company.
That process delayed Marcello’s official takeover of Old Timers until 2012.
“The day we did it, we didn’t even tell the employees,” he recalled. “We went and signed some paperwork and came right back. It only took 10 minutes to sign the paperwork and then it was a done deal, official.”
With his impact already on the menu, Marcello made a few changes like shrimp and grits for customers. Old Timers still features its well-known club sandwich, fresh catfish and smoked chicken.
There are daily lunch specials and the Marcello touch with Italian and Cajun specials. Several organizations still use Old Timers as their meeting place and the usuals can be spotted in the restaruant.
“It’s been business as usual,” Marcello said. “We hope everybody will embrace us as they did before even without Mr. Howard being associated like he did before.
“We still honor him,” he concluded. “We still have his name on the menu. He was good to me and his family is very good to me. I get along with all of them very well. That bond will always be there.”
Old Timers is located at 7918 C Street and for more information, call 872-6464.

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July 2014
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