Ten years ago, Ryan Turner and Todd Mussman wanted a neighborhood restaurant they would want to hang out in. One that served fresh food in an inviting atmosphere. One that had an “everybody knows your name” type of vibe. When they couldn’t find it, they decided to open one themselves. Thus began Muss & Turner’s.
Muss & Turner’s has become the neighborhood clubhouse Ryan and Todd envisioned. It’s the type of place where the serving staff greet customers by name and the owners are treated like family members by both their loyal customers and their staff.
Their goal in starting Muss & Turner’s was to provide high quality food and drinks as well as service in Smyrna. They saw no reason people who lived in the area should have to travel to Midtown or Buckhead or anywhere else for great food.
What makes Muss & Turner’s different
From the beginning, Ryan and Todd made a commitment to locally sourced ingredients. While these are buzz words now, that was not the case 10 years ago. From the beginning, they focused on finding high quality ingredients and building strong relationships with farmers in the area. They haven’t wavered from those founding ideas.
Muss & Turner’s prides itself on serving high quality products because they understand that people will pay for quality. Guests have appreciated their attempt to bring such special food to Smyrna. While the food may bring them accolades, it’s the people at Muss & Turner’s that keeps customers coming back.
“Our secret sauce is the people,” says Ryan. “Our staff connects with guests. They help our customers to feel recognized and appreciated, and then they trust us. Without trust it’s hard to make it in the restaurant world. People have a lot of choices. But they will find the good stuff if it’s out there.”
“Nothing good comes easy.”
Ryan and Todd have had their fair share of trials since opening Muss & Turner’s a decade ago. They have worked to overcome the distinction of being “just a deli” and have made sure Atlantans now think of them as a bistro serving a wide variety of food. Most notably though, the trial of surviving (and actually thriving) despite the recession, may have been their most impressive triumph.
“We planted seeds prior to the recession that created a lot of loyalty,” Todd explains. “During that time, people weren’t going to gamble when deciding where they were going to go out to eat. They were going to go to a place they could trust.”
With a shrewd business sense, Ryan and Todd focused on providing the same quality food while increasing more cost-conscious options. They made sure there was no pretense and just good, hearty food. They doubled down on their commitment to be the best restaurants they could be and that kept their customers coming back. Despite the downturn, Ryan and Todd both smile with quiet pride when discussing how their business, unlike so many, thrived during the recession.
Being part of the community
Both Ryan and Todd live in Smyrna. They shop there, raise families there, and educate their kids there. It is obvious that despite northeastern roots, these guys are southern at heart. And it seems like southerners have embraced them right back.
When asked why they chose Smyrna as the location for their business, the easy answer from both owners came quickly: “Why not?”
They love the geographical advantage Smyrna has in relation to the rest of the metro area. They like the schools and the welcoming, community-feel of their neighborhoods. When they first opened Muss & Turner’s, there were only six restaurants within 1.5 square miles. Today there are 25 to 30. Ryan and Todd welcome the new businesses though, choosing to focus on themselves instead of their competition.
“We are of the camp of the more the merrier,” says Todd with an easy smile. “The more that this area becomes known as a dining destination, the more we will attract folks from other places. And then we all win.”
“We love where we live. This is our home and community,” explains Ryan.”We are proud to say we are in Smyrna, that we have contributed, that we are a part of this community.”