Behind the Restaurant roulette in Ocean Springs

Behind the Restaurant roulette in Ocean Springs
The restaurant industry is booming as business shift to new locations within the city. (Photo Source: WLOX)
(Photo Source: WLOX)
(Photo Source: WLOX)

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - In just a few days, longtime Ocean Springs restaurant Bayview Gourmet will be closing its doors after 20 years in business.

This latest closure doesn't mean the industry in not thriving in the Jackson County city.

While one restaurant is leaving, others are opening in the city. Still, more are changing locations or taking over from other established eateries. As one of our newsroom members called it, it's like restaurant roulette.

A building on Porter Avenue sat empty for a year. Crooked Letter Brewery and restaurant is moving back home to downtown. There is a feeling of camaraderie among the more than 100 restaurants in the city.

Paul Blacksmith is the owner. "It seems that as though everybody is extremely supportive of each other. We've always been cross promoters of other businesses and it seems like other businesses are just as supportive as we've ever been."

The old Mohler's gas station and convenience store is now home to Knucklehead's. Moving in and cooking up tasty treats was an easy decision to make for chef Cheri Hiers. "Well. it's a foodie town. That's number one first of all. It's a foodie town. We love our food and we love having fun with our food" said Hiers.

The location isn't bad either for the sous chef Leigh McDowell. She explained, "I think the owners chose this building because of the history behind it that it holds with locals. Everyone wants to come here and it's familiar with them. They want to hold steady with that and re-invent this and have people enjoy it again."

The Love Shack is now open. It was a dream for the owners to join the palate pleasing list of businesses.

One of them is Karen Horn. "We've lived here about 20 years. We love coming downtown. We just love the atmosphere here so that's what made us really want to be here because it's the hub of Ocean Springs, Horn explained.

Lots of choices can be a win-win for everyone, according to the owner of Lancaster's, Rodney Lancaster. "People think competition is bad but it's not. It brings more people. So if there's more restaurants, people have more to choose from and brings more people from farther away. So, competition is good, it makes us thrive," he said.

The industry thrives because of all the potential customers. Kristen Musgrove manages the newly opened Glory Bound restaurant. She noted, "There's just always something going on down here. There's always some sort of event, always some sort of festival. You have casinos right there. There's just always something to do and it brings people out."

Meanwhile at Knuckleheads, the owner plans on keeping the gas pumps on to keep the tradition going.

Copyright 2018 WLOX. All rights reserved.