Long Lines Greet Many Hungry Restaurant Guests

Martha Ebberman added french fries to a plate and placed it at the waitress' pick up window. One lunchtime meal was on its way out. Another was about to be prepared.

"Hey Lucy, get me a pork roast real quick please," Ebberman barked.

After enjoying the roast, Ebberman has a dessert suggestion for her customer.

"It's our bread pudding," she said, pulling it out of the oven. The pudding is a Burger Burger specialty. "We make that here fresh daily," she said.

Everyday since the storm, people have waited in line to taste it. Three women were in one of those lines, patiently waiting for the next table.

"If we had the males with us, they wouldn't be standing in line," one of the women laughed. "They don't believe in standing in lines."

Quite honestly, neither does the chef.

"We hate that. We hate for them to wait so long," Ebberman said.

But she doesn't know what to do. She's got her kitchen team working as fast as it can. But the cooks just can't keep up with a post-Katrina lunch rush that never seems to slow down.

"There's tension. Believe me," the restaurant owner said. "We're doing double the business, with the same amount of staff and the same amount of seating capacity."

So, what's changed? Well, there are fewer restaurants open since the hurricane. And there are more contractors, insurance adjusters and volunteers in town, helping south Mississippi build back the community. That combination has created a traffic jam at lunch counters all over the area.

"You kind of get used to it," one customer said.

Ebberman sat at her counter right before the rush started. It was 11:15, and a crowd of hungry customers filled most of the chairs in her 54 seat restaurant. She called the situation since Katrina "chaos."

"But it's wonderful that we can serve the people, because there is no other place for them to eat right now."