LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Though it sits nestled just south of the railroad tracks in Long Beach, Darwell's Cafe is anything but hidden from the national spotlight.
The father/son owned eatery has been serving "good food to good people" since 2005. That dedication to quality has put Darwell's on the map as one of Forbes 10 best restaurants of 2016.
For co-owner Darwell Yeager, also known as "Papa D", the latest accolade is a dream come true.
"It's surreal. We opened this place with the philosophy of putting out high quality food and don't cut the corners. We don't spend the big money on the advertising. We spend the big money on the quality of the food that we prepare," said Papa D.
Forbes contributor Larry Olmstead released the list last week saying he was awed by Darwell's Cafe. Olmstead made the trip to Long Beach in March for an article in USA Today, and the restaurant the good fresh food, and friendly atmosphere did not disappoint.
The atmosphere is something that Papa D says was the concept from the beginning.
"To keep it a family friendly place, and have entertainment and music, and have it where families and kids and grandma can come. We took kind of a long road philosophy. A lot of people said it wouldn't work," Olmstead said,"We need to do something that the families can come."
Chef Domonic Caranna has been with Darwell's for about a year. He says the quality of the food is what keeps customers coming back.
"It's always the best here. Everything's fresh, we make it from scratch," Caranna said, "We don't pull a hamburger out of the freezer and put it on the grill. We patty our own meat, and that says a lot for what we do here and when the guests come in, they know."
Papa D says it's an amazing accomplishment, but it will only make them work harder to continue to please the customers.
"We wanted to keep it picnic family friendly, real relaxed, in a real good happy atmosphere," said Papa D. "That's been the philosophy, we will keep that. That's the direction, we will maintain that course forever."