LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) – The Cajun Crawfish Hut in Long Beach moved just north of the railroad tracks, just five months after losing its former beach front building in Katrina.
"We are all happy to see the train start running, but we're tired of it now. We want to go back and look at the water for a while," said the restaurant owner Gus Harris.
After five years of waiting and overcoming elevation obstacles, the restaurant is returning to its old location at the corner of Cleveland and Highway 90.
"We have customers coming in every day that's telling us how excited they are to see us rebuilding and they can't wait," said Gus' wife, Dona Harris. "We had some really fond memories on the decks, sitting with our customers and talking. It was great."
Two restaurants are also going up at the harbor. One is a 5,000 square foot restaurant being built at the old Steve's Marina site. And developer Jimmy Levens plans to build a steak and seafood restaurant at the former Long Beach Lookout location.
"One of Long Beach's draws is we're kind of bedroom community, but we have a lot of people come over and eat with us. Hopefully, we can keep the people coming this way to eat," said Levens.
According to Levens, the top of the building looks like a boat and the elevator section is shaped like a mast. The restaurant also has a screened area for crawfish boils, as well as a landscaped bottom floor with benches and mobile food kiosks.
Levens is also building a new restaurant on Jeff Davis Avenue called Bull's. The operators used to own Barnaby's. And just down the street, the new Harbor View Café is under construction.
The mayor believes the restaurants will help spark the city's economy.
"So it means a lot to us. It creates traffic and brings people to your town," said Mayor Billy Skellie.
Their visible locations will also serve as a beacon of Katrina recovery on the beach front.
"People see me down on the job site, they're blowing their horn and waving. It's great," said Gus Harris.
Bull's Restaurant plans to open in late December. Cajun Crawfish Hut is expected to open in January. And the other restaurants should be in business sometime in 2011.