On the Ocean Springs menu -- a restaurant milestone

By Brad Kessie -

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OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The city of discovery has discovered fine dining.  Sometime soon, an Ocean Springs entrepreneur will open the city's 100th restaurant.  The city's chamber is using that opening in a promotion that let's everybody know Ocean Springs is heating up.

Sam Sabagh remembers what it was like a decade ago, when Phoenicia's kitchen had very little competition in Ocean Springs.  "Whenever I first came in, there was probably about 11-12 restaurants.  Now, we've got 100," he said.

Actually, just 95 restaurants are serving customers right now.  However, the city's chamber can taste that 100th restaurant opening up its doors in the very near future.  Cynthia Dobbs does promotional work for the chamber.  "As soon as we realized it, we were like, okay we've got to do something.  We've got to come up with something.  We've got to let everybody know," she said.

So, the Ocean Springs Chamber dished up a new marketing campaign.  Through newspaper ads and a banner on Highway 90, it announced to the world that the city of discovery was "heating up".  "Like I said, we've always had so much to offer," Dobbs noted.  "It's just another point to show people how much we have in one area."

So what is it about Ocean Springs that makes it so appetizing?  Sabagh says that's easy.  "I love the people," the restaurateur said.

The people love the variety Ocean Springs offers -- in the city's 150 boutiques, galleries, and shops.  And in its nearly 100 eateries.  As one customer finished lunch, she commented on the service.  " mean they get you in, they get you out.  And the food is wonderful," she said.

Chamber members will always credit artists for attracting people to Ocean Springs.  However, they realize restaurants may become the city's secret recipe that keep cash registers ringing.  "Now, to be a dining district.  It's just really amazing.  We're excited," said Dobbs.

The list of restaurants looking at Ocean Springs includes Brick Oven Pizza, Hot Rocks Steakhouse, Frosting Cupcakes, White Loftus, and Counter Culture.  As soon as the last of those diners opens, the chamber will mark the city's 100 restaurant milestone with a huge bash.

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