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Dining Out Spotlight: Gin Mill Galleries Inc, Indianola

Party atmosphere goes with Gin Mill Gallery

Just as the patio for a restaurant in an old gin in Indianola was being poured, a tornado tore through and destroyed the building.

For two decades, Tom Bingham had owned the property, doing custom woodworking from the space. For about a decade, he’d operated an art gallery from the building, where he’d host art openings and book signings because, he said, “if you can’t go to the party, bring the party to you.”

It had been his dream to open a restaurant and bar in the space.

The day of the tornado, friends in Indianola rushed to the gin and helped Bingham salvage artwork and furniture.  In 2007, within a year of the devastating tornado, he opened the Gin Mill Galleries in the rebuilt gin.

The east side of the building serves as a gallery for regional artists and features some of Bingham’s woodwork, while the biggest part of the space features a bar and tables built by Bingham with artwork on display, as well.

Today, customers stream in from the nearby B.B. King Museum.

“If it wasn’t for the museum, I’d still be building furniture,” he says.

Bingham adds that this is the first year he’s seen European tourists come this early in the year.

“The other day we fed 40 from England,” he said. “I get emails now from friends in Hungary two to three times a week,” he said. “Never in my life did I imagine being involved in something like this. It’s great to meet so many people from all over the world.”

Bingham does nearly all the cooking himself – hot tamales are popular as is the pulled pork, chili and spaghetti.

“I’m just a pretty good cook that can’t afford a chef,” he said.

He’s also known for a dessert called a “Cool Moon,” a Moon Pie nuked and served with ice cream.

Customers also love the pig pudding, which is Fritos topped with homemade baked beans, pulled pork, slaw and homemade barbecue sauce.

“I’ve seen ladies wipe their nose on it,” he said.

On Thursdays and Sundays, Bingham serves ribeyes off the grill, and the third Saturday of each month is an open stage for songwriters.

Beginning in April, the restaurant will be open at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Closing time is when “everybody goes home.”

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Gin Mill Galleries Inc

109 Pershing Avenue

Indianola, MS 38751

(662) 887-3209

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