GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A downtown Gulfport restaurant will soon close its doors after almost 15 years of feeding South Mississippians and tourists.
Rob Stinson is arguably the Coast's favorite restauranteur, but now, he's closing the business that started it all.
"It's been a really good history here. I love the Gulf Coast. It's what got me started, Lookout," said Stinson.
Stinson opened Long Beach Lookout in April 2002, only to be destroyed three years later by Hurricane Katrina. In just 21 days following the storm, the restaurant re-opened in Gulfport as Lookout 49.
"After Katrina, it was a revitalization for a lot of relief workers to come in and eat," said Stinson. "Then when we came downtown, it was kind of a different style of move," said Stinson.
Lookout Steakhouse opened in downtown Gulfport in 2011, but when the doors close on Oct. 31, Lookout will be no more.
"Well, this is what I began with. This is like losing your child, so to speak. So this has been tough, I'm not going to lie," said Stinson.
Stinson's choice to close was a financial decision.
"It's just lease issues. Our lease was up Nov. 1. Somebody is really willing to pay more money than I would, and it just makes sense to move in a different direction," said Stinson.
Although he says he isn't happy about closing, Stinson still has five other restaurants between Biloxi and Gulfport to keep him busy.
"I wouldn't be here on the Coast with all the restaurants I have unless it was for those customers, and as hard as it is for me, I feel like in some ways it's harder for them," said Stinson.
Stinson says of his 37 Lookout employees, most of them will continue to work for him at his other restaurants.