Brownwood’s new McAlister’s Deli franchise is now open for business at The Shoppes at Pecan Bayou on Commerce St.
    The deli, known for its sandwiches, salads, baked potatoes and teas, is located next to Cotton Patch Cafe which opened last week.
    Steve McCown is the general manager of the Brownwood McAlister’s. He said the restaurant brought many new features to the community. “I don’t think there’s any restaurants here that have the digital menu,” he said, referring to the large menu board behind the counter. “In addition to that, we also have an entire set gluten-free menu. So if anybody comes in with any kind of gluten allergies, we can modify the menu for them in a way that will help with their allergies.”
    McCown said his location would be available for catering within the next several weeks. “Once our catering kicks in, which will probably be in about two weeks, just to get the community acclimated to the fact that we’re able to do that is going to be phenomenal.”
    The McAlister’s doesn’t have a drive-through, but there is a window on the building where drivers can pick up their call-ahead orders. Orders can be placed by phone and also online on the McAlister’s website. Customers can order food to be picked up immediately or at a specified later time.
    McCown said McAlister’s would make a difference in the Brownwood community by donating all tips, whether left at the counter or on the table. He said one example of McAlister’s philanthropy was its work during Autism Awareness Month, when it makes a special cookie and donates all sales to autism research and support.
    He said he was encouraged by a busy first day and ready for more.
    “We welcome anybody and everybody coming through,” McCown said. “We’re excited to be a part of this community, and that’s what it’s all about.”