‘An honor to own it’, New Malt Shop Owners to continue tradition

Published 12:59 pm Wednesday, January 12, 2022

NATCHEZ — The Malt Shop on Homochitto Street has served burgers, catfish, chicken wings, milkshakes, malts and dip cones for at least 70 years. It is where new owners Charles Bass and Guy Bass would go after school in the backseat of their sister’s Ford Galaxie 500. 

It is where their business partner and co-owner David Browning carved his initials in the tables out front. The Bass brothers would do the same. They walked from Braden Elementary to The Malt Shop everyday after school to be picked up by their mom. 

“We were destined to own it. We feel like it has been such a tradition for so many years,” Guy said. “Everyone has grown up with The Malt Shop. Seeing the people who come through the drive through I have realized everyone comes here.”

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He said he felt they had been destined to own the restaurant since the Ellis Brothers tried selling them The Malt Shop in the 1980s. At the time, Guy and Charles owned the Natchez Landing which opened in 1981. 

They have previously owned Pearl Street Pasta, Center City Grill and Cotton Alley Cafe. COVID is one of the reasons they had to close Cotton Alley, Guy said. 

Having moved to Gulf Shores, Alabama, Guy said he and David kept in touch with the Natchez community. And when previous owners Pat and David Sanguinetti decided to sell The  Malt Shop, the trio took advantage of the opportunity to own a piece of Natchez history.

“One of the reasons we did buy The Malt Shop was because of its historic value. It’s an ongoing successful business here, and people are leaning more toward pickup food,” Charles said. “David and Guy have been partners for a while. They wanted to come back to Natchez. We wanted something different from a sit down and The Malt Shop was the perfect fit.” 

Good employees and purveyors have made the transition in ownership smooth, he said. Their goals are to keep the original recipes, grow the business and get any old customers back to The Malt Shop. 

On October 26, 2021, a vehicle knocked over The Malt Shop’s sign, which was believed to have been outside the shop since the 1950s. A replacement is currently being manufactured, Guy said. The original sign had the word “sundaes” misspelled, but it will be correct this time, he said. 

Ultimately, Browning, Guy and Charles want to continue to improve the building and bring a 1950s retro look. In addition, they hope to have white hats and shirts as merchandise to help promote the restaurant. The Malt Shop has been around for 70 years so they see no need to make any major changes besides eventually opening the shop on Sundays again. 

“It’s an institution,” Browning said. “It’s an honor to own it.”