Landmark Restaurant Will Be Rebuilt In Hattiesburg

A landmark Hattiesburg restaurant, closed since a March fire destroyed the structure, could be back in business in time for Christmas. That's the timetable promoted by Chesterfield's new owner, Chris Happ.

Happ, 36, said crews began Wednesday rebuilding the restaurant at the corner of Hardy Street and U.S. 49.

"It's going to be Chesterfield's again,'' Happ said. "We're going to do the same basic menu.''

Once completed, Happ, who is owner of Cane Creek Seafood Restaurant, said the new Chesterfield's will take on the old one's look and feel, with some minor changes such as a quieter dining room and handicapped-accessible bar.

"We're shooting for Christmas,'' Happ said. "But that's just if everything flies straight. Opening a restaurant, you never know what will hit you.''

Happ will purchase the land from the restaurant's former owner, Petal lawyer Bud Holmes, who owned the land and the building during its heyday.

This will be the third time the Hattiesburg landmark has reopened after a fire. The first blaze gutted Chesterfields in 1991, but it was rebuilt and remained successful until its previous owners, Joe Rodriguez of Germantown, Tenn., and Lance McFaddin of Houston, Texas, became embroiled in numerous lawsuits.