Restaurants cook up big business in Ocean Springs

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - At Martha's Tea Room, it's a special day for Patt Nelms and her friends. The quaint decor just adds to the fun.

"We come for birthday's, everybody's birthday, we come here," Nelms said. "So I don't know if I can mention Martha's. It's just fine dining in Ocean Springs. What can I say?"

You can say this. More than 100 restaurants cook up good business. Barbara Przybyl is a restaurant hostess.

"It's a good draw for the city of Ocean Springs," Przybyl said.  "It's good with the different types of restaurants and cuisines."

Finding a place to eat is not hard. Walk just a few blocks and the choices seem endless. Every kind of meal you can think of is up for grabs.

The decision to open in a place filled with competition wasn't hard for the owners of Tom's Extreme Pizzeria, of one of the city's newest restaurants.

"Ocean Springs is a really hot area," Tom Bennett said.  "We love the environment down here, the artsy cool environment and we think our product fits in really good in the Ocean Springs market."

At Shady's, owner Chuck Shafer watches over the operation, while his customers watch over the tempting treats on their plates. It's a relaxing place. Back in the kitchen, it's not quite as relaxing, as workers stay busy preparing meals for hungry diners.  And Shafer said those diners come from everywhere you can think of.

"It's a draw for both locals and tourists as well," Shafer said. "I think that being on the main drag here on Government Street is very helpful."

City officials estimate sales tax revenue from the restaurants brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. In addition, an additional two percent tax on food and beverages is helping to pay for a new public safety complex and sportsplex.

Join WLOX on Wednesday at the Depot in downtown Ocean Springs for our Celebrate Mississippi segment on WLOX News at 4, 5 and 6.

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