BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – Mouthwatering seafood dishes are tempting customers back to Snapper's Seafood Restaurant on this holiday. The manager said Labor Day sales help the restaurant survive the slow winter months.
"Labor Day has a lot to do with how we eat in the winter. We're like squirrels. We save," said Charles Fagen.
But Fagen said things have been rough since the oil disaster.
"Sixty-percent of the business, maybe more, is gone," he said. "It's a ghost town around here during the summer now. People are afraid. They come up to the beach and they see the BP crews walking down the beach. They're afraid to eat sometimes. They question us on the seafood."
Fagen said the restaurant had to make some changes to save money. The restaurant did not hire any part-time workers over the summer. It also stopped serving breakfast during the week. The slow-down in business had employees, like Trever Cox, nervous about their jobs.
"Last year this time, we were just so busy and then all of a sudden, there was nobody here. So we were all worried," said Cox.
The cost of seafood also skyrocketed.
"Oysters doubled. We've served them the whole time and they're great," said Fagen.
To help recoup some of its losses, the restaurant has had to raise its menu prices. The sign at the entrance read 'Due to the oil spill in the Gulf, an additional dollar will be added to each dinner and po boy.'
At one point, the manager even suggested changing the name of the restaurant.
"I was thinking well, we're Snappers Seafood now. We could always be Snapper's Steakhouse and everybody got a giggle out of it. But we survived," said Fagen.
Snapper's is a survivor. The former restaurant was destroyed by Katrina and it reopened at the same location on the Biloxi beach last year. Now, it has to ride out this latest storm.
"With all the storms we recently had on the east coast, hopefully, pushed everybody our way and visited, seeing how wonderful it is and they're going to come back," said Fagen. "Hopefully, Cruisin' the Coast is just as good as this past weekend."
The employees at the restaurant shared some encouraging news. They say more and more tourists are coming in and asking for Gulf seafood, because they want to support local businesses.