Beloved Ocean Springs bar Kwitzky’s Dugout closing after 16 years
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - A staple of the South Mississippi bar scene will soon close its doors.
Kwitzky’s Dugout opened back in 2005, and in the sixteen years since has become a beloved bar in the City of Discovery. The good times will roll until the end of May for the regulars of Kwitzky’s dugout.
”It’s heartbreaking because this is where we go, this is where we meet, and these are the faces we see every time we show up,” said loyal patron and fellow business owner Gayle Jones.
The familiar faces haven’t changed, with few bars being able to boast a more loyal group of patrons.
”If you look around, these people have been coming here for the last 15 or 16 years; it’s like family,” said Bobby Carter.
That atmosphere is what has really allowed Kwitzky’s Dugout to not only succeed but to thrive.
”Kris has made this its own community, and it’s going to be sorely missed,” Jones said.
Kris Kwitzky will miss it as well. The Ocean Springs native has spent the last few days sharing hugs and memories with hundreds of customers since announcing the closure, everything from selling hot dogs with his dad outside during their first months in business, to the party and scene that lit up the community when the Saints won the Super Bowl.
“There was easily 300 people here. I had never given out that many high fives. What a night,” Kwitzky said.
When looking back on the experience and journey, the charismatic bar owner couldn’t name a regret.
”It’s the best thing I ever did. I am so pleased with how it turned out. The people who come in here just make it worth coming to work every day and giving them my best,” Kwitzky said.
He was the man putting out chairs for the past 16 years, but he has always credited those who sit in them for making Kwitzky’s Dugout a success.
”One person can’t do it. It takes a whole bunch of people to do this. The city of Ocean Springs embraced us. We were very fortunate that we had the right people, in the right place, at the right time and we all grabbed lightning in a bottle together. It is a shared thing, it is not just me. I just happen to be the guy with my name on the window,” he said.
Kwitzky had three years left on his lease but the owner of the building wanted to buy him out to pursue another opportunity. Kwitzky’s Dugout will close at the end of the month, and Kwitzky plans on enjoying some time off after more than 15 years of hard work.
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