Downtown Gulfport restaurants showcase cuisine - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Downtown Gulfport restaurants showcase cuisine

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It was a chance to get a taste of Downtown Gulfport has to offer. On Wednesday, several downtown restaurants set up booths at Lighthouse Park. People got to try great food and see up close the revitalization underway in the area. 

When Half Shell Oyster House opened back in August, the owner says he hoped to help get people back to the downtown. He says he's glad to see other restaurants coming into the area as well.

"Competition is a good thing," said owner John Graham. "Some people get scared of it, but the more competition, the better the food you're going to have and the more people that are going to come to see everything."

Half a dozen downtown restaurants served up everything from lasagna to Indian food at Lighthouse Park. 

Lisa Bradley is director of the Gulfport Main Street Association.

"We have so many new restaurants in downtown Gulfport. It's just an opportunity for people to get a sampling of them," Bradley said. "The restaurants are encouraged to do menu items that they serve regularly."

Meredith Chase went by several booths before settling on lunch from Tony's Brick Over Pizzeria.

"It's wonderful to be able to come down here, just get a sample of all the food we have in downtown Gulfport, just sit outside and enjoy downtown Gulfport."

While the lunch crowd enjoyed food and live music, workers were busy installing new streets, sidewalks and drainage. The Gulfport Main Street Association says facade and other improvements are making a difference.

"We've had more activity in Downtown Gulfport in the last six months than I think they're ever really been," said Bradley. "This is just a good example of people wanting to be a part of something, and we're all proud to provide it for them."

Tony Swigris is the owner of Tony's Brick Oven Pizzeria. He's proud of how far the downtown has come.

"A couple of years ago we used to ride our bikes through here, and there would be absolutely no cars. You wouldn't see a soul," said Swigris. "Now we're starting to see the traffic come back. Lunch business has been real good with all the lunch businesses down here. We're starting to see people come downtown at night."

Organizers say there will be two more lunches at Lighthouse Park in May and June. They will be held on the third Wednesday from 11:30 am to 1 pm.

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