Coastal Mississippi restaurants garner heavy holiday traffic Easter Weekend

Easter is one of the busiest times of year for restaurants across the U.S.
Published: Apr. 9, 2023 at 7:20 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Easter is one of the busiest times of year for restaurants across the U.S. Many months are spent prepping custom menus and reservations ahead of the holiday traffic to keep up with the increasing demand to dine-in.

Right behind Christmas, Easter brings in millions of dollars to the restaurant business. It’s become an annual tradition for families to gather and fellowship over a bite to eat, especially in coastal Mississippi.

But with this popular custom comes a lot of preparation for restaurateurs like Austin Sumrall, White Pillars Restaurant & Lounge Executive Chef.

Chef Sumrall says it’s an exciting time but takes a ton of sacrifice.

“It’s tough because you know these guys have families and things like that,” says Sumrall. “They’re taking time away to be here but there’s always a lively and festive atmosphere on holidays. You know, it’s infectious and everybody has a good time. I think you saw it back there, everybody’s in good spirits and everything like that so it’s fun.”

White Pillars was fully booked this Easter with some guests making reservations five months in advance. So, what’s his secret recipe to surviving the holiday chaos?

“Oh, my gosh! Versus a normal brunch it’s two or three times more, which is pretty crazy,” Sumrall says. " So, we do a pre-fixed menu for Easter, so you get your choice of your first course, second course, and third course. Then we’ve got some sides and everything that goes with it, too.”

Just ten minutes down the road in Biloxi, One Thirty One on Lameuse was jam-packed as well. Executive Chef Loren Gautier and his team wake before the crack of dawn to get the ball rolling.

“We get up early,” says Loren Gautier, One Thirty One on Lameuse Executive Chef. “Most of us do our Easter and stuff with our families bright and early. Most of us are up before six and five o’clock.”

Chef Gautier opened the restaurant just shy of two years ago with his business partner. He’s proud of the impact his team has made and seeing customers come back on days like this is what keeps him going.

“It’s the experience, the experience that people get especially around holidays,” says Gautier. “You know you’re dining and eating with a whole bunch of your friends and families so it’s just people coming in here, share that meal together. We’re glad that we get to participate in that.”

Head East on Lameuse St, take one right and you’ll find General Manager, Rose Taylor at Patio 44. She runs a tight ship to make sure the upscale restaurant operates seamlessly. Taylor says she knows how stressful the work schedule can be for her team, so she makes sure to prioritize they well-beings.

“We bring in snacks and goodies for the staff during those crazy shifts since it’s like super high volume,” says Taylor. Everyone wants to eat and they’re usually working all day long.”

The Patio 44 manager says the key is to remain optimistic no matter how tough the day may get.

“We just try to keep a positive attitude throughout the restaurant keep everyone in a good mood, she concluded. “Really our goal is to create raving fans and have everyone come back. It’s a great opportunity during this time of year.”

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