By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The two-time reigning Millington Star Readers’ Choice Restaurant of the Year Huey’s Millington was off to a solid start in 2020 when new general manager Alex Boggs arrived.
In March, Boggs was preparing to continue the high-level service, community involvement and strong traditions established by Huey’s in 1970. Then a global pandemic struck Millington, the United States and the entire world.
“I came here the week we shut down,” Boggs recalled. “We went 11 weeks in this store with the doors locked. It was very interesting. It was honestly great timing for me to get to know our team here at Huey’s Millington. I got to really learn a lot about Millington.
“I had never really worked out here or got to visit out here,” he continued. “It was a pretty big advantage because I got to spend 2 months getting the lay of the land before we actually open back up the doors taking care of everyone. About the time we unlocked the doors, I felt like I knew the staff very well and I already knew a lot of our customers. The biggest take away was that Millington took care of us.”
And the city of Millington and surrounding areas continues to show Huey’s appreciation by voting the establishment 2021 Readers’ Choice Restaurant of the Year for the third consecutive time.
The doors of the Huey’s Millington located at 8570 Highway 51 North in the Shoppes of Millington Farms opened May 8, 2017. The Memphis-based hamburger restaurant made itself at home by donating to the Millington Crisis Center.
Since then, Huey’s has worked along with the Millington Arts and Recreation Department, Millington Chamber of Commerce and Millington Municipal Schools.
For five decades, Huey’s has been one of the best places to get a juicy hamburger. Their 6-ounce beef burger has been voted “Best Burger in Memphis” since 1984. Huey’s will continue to share its blues, brews and burgers with the Mid-South by opening its 10th location in Olive Branch, Miss., last year.
Founder Thomas Boggs created an area favorite that his daughters now operate with Lauren Boggs McHugh as President and CEO, Ashley Boggs Robilio Chief Operation Officer and Samantha Boggs Dean as Special Projects Coordinator.
Now their brother Alex is the man in charge in Millington. His arrival was just in time to make all the adjustment to a pandemic and rules from the Shelby County Health Department.
“It’s been wonderful,” Alex said. “Millington has accepted me with open arms. It’s been really fun to be able to do different things with the Chamber and even doing a couple of different things with the South Tipton Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Rosemary Bridges. She takes care good of us. It’s been very neat to see how well Huey’s has ingrained itself within the community.”
Alex and the crew in Millington continued the longtime relationships with customers through curbside service. Regulars got out of their cars just to wave to the staff through the windows and Huey’s team members would run Boggs outside to be introduced to customers from a safe distance.
With both employees and customers enjoying the eatery, Huey’s Millington continued to cook up success with the recipe of service and community involvement to earn its third straight Readers’ Choice Restaurant of the Year from The Millington Star.
“We learned a long time ago, the more you give back to the community, the more they give to you,” Boggs said. “We’re not really who we want to be, or as successful as we want to be until we get involved with who is around us. People and community has everything to do with that.”
Huey’s emphasis staying involved in the community to sponsorships, donating food and allowing a safe place for gatherings. Boggs said the team in Millington embodies the principles established by Huey’s 51 years ago.
“We put a major emphasis on who we hire, how we train them and where we train them,” he said. “So we can identify the right fit for the Huey’s culture and they in turn do all the hard work for us. They build those day-to-day relationships.
“The Huey’s culture taking care of people before anything else,” Boggs continued. “We’re very proud to be voted Best Burger. We’re honored to receive that award plenty of times but at the end of the day if we’re not taking care of our staff and supporting them, we’re not doing what we should be. We want them to be able to support their families. We really proud ourselves with that and we do have five decades of history with that.”
Alan Gary opened the first Huey’s location in 1970 on Madison Avenue in Midtown Memphis. He used his childhood nickname to name the establishment. Then in 1976 Boggs took over the operation.
Huey’s has expanded throughout the Mid-South with locations at Midtown, Cordova, Downtown Memphis, Collierville, Southaven, Southwind, East Memphis, Germantown and Millington. The next location will open in Olive Branch, Miss.
Alex said the two main factors to Huey’s winning awards all these years are the loyalty of the customers and the dedication of the team members.
“I could not just be more grateful to the both of them,” he said. “Many, many thanks to the customers who supported us and members of our team with tips that were much larger than we earned that day. For our team coming to work everyday having a positive attitude.
“Dealing with the week-to-week and sometimes day-to-day changes that we were putting into place,” Boggs added. “Some of thing because we made the changes and some of them because we were told to make the changes. There attitude and the way they stayed positive has been tremendous for us.”
Huey’s 10 locations will remain as the home of graffiti-covered walls, flat-screen TVs and the long list of menu items like cheese fries, burgers and homemade lemon ice box pie.
“Hopefully a whole lot more blues, brews and burgers,” Boggs concluded. “We hope to eventually get some more music going on Sunday nights, serve our selection of beers and we’re going to continue serving our world-famous Huey’s burgers.”
For more information, visit hueyburger.com or call 873-5025.