Restaurants say cruisers kept them hopping all week long

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Cruisin' the Coast 2010 is now in the history books. Some coast business owners say thousands of classic cars really helped to rev up the local economy.

Many waiters and cooks were taking time to catch their breath on Sunday afternoon. They say Cruisers kept them hopping all week long

As Cruisin' the Coast concluded, the vintage cars rolled out of town. Before the visitors left, some restaurants owners say cruisers showed how much they love classic cars and good food.

"Business has been tremendous. Real good. This is our best week by far in a very long time," said Ernest Ulrich, owner of Port City Cafe. "The weather has been absolutely nice. Everything they've done with the Downtown has made it so attractive for people to come and visit. "

At times this week, traffic on Highway 90 was at a crawl. Thousands of visitors descended on the Mississippi Coast and kept eateries like the Half Shell Oyster house busy.

John Cuviello is the manager at Half Shell Oyster House. "I'd say we were elevated another 30 percent. We saw a lot of people in but generally when we have our down time in the afternoon about 3 pm or so it just kept going. We were consistently busy all day and all night."

Restaurants owners say Cruisin' was a much needed shot in the arm for coast tourism that has been hit hard to by the oil spill.

"I think it's a big boost especially with what's been going on here lately in our economy," said Cuviello. "People like to see good crowds down here and these folks bring a good crowd with them. It's really positive."

Ulrich said, "I think everybody probably did real well. Whether it's the grocery stores, the retail, restaurants of course the hotels as well. So overall I think it was a very good October to start of with."

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