Cruisers flock to nostalgic businesses on Coast

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Cruisin’ the Coast is all about creating a blast from the past, and several businesses in South Mississippi have that nostalgic feel built into their DNA.

As a result, they are becoming hot spots for cruisers who want to expand the experience beyond just cars and head little north of Highway 90.

Cooper’s Bayou View Service Station in Gulfport has that Cruisin’ the Coast feel all over it.

It was remodeled for that reason, and Gary “Spanky” Karl loves it.

“Sure. It’s a great attraction. When you’re coming this way and you see it, you’re going to stop,” he said. “They’ve done a good job. They’ve kept it all, you know, like the old Gulf colors. I don’t know if anybody remembers Gulf gas, but the old hot-rodders do.”

Like Karl, they come this way to treat their time machines with some old-time love.

“We stop here, we top off every day and we go ride,” he said. “Burn as much fuel as we can and come back and see them some more.”

Manager James Jacobs knows why some of the out-of-towners have sought out the neighborhood station.

“They’ve never seen a little ole mom-and-pop, full-service station,” he said. “So, they want to come, check it out and see what it’s about. And, they love, of course, the non-ethanol fuel for their old cars.”

Over at Port City Café in Biloxi, the orders are coming in fast, and the staff is never idle.

“Cruisin’ is our best week of the year by far,” said owner Ernest Ulrich. “I think, for us, we’ve just developed a reputation that the cruisers know they can come in and they’re going to get a good meal. When they walk in the door, they say, ‘You remember us?’ And, we’re like, ‘Absolutely, we remember ya’ll.’ "

The trip back in time is appreciated.

“I think Port City Cafe is a perfect opportunity for the cruisers to come to and also be part of the nostalgia,” said Alan Schulkens, a Coast resident and regular at the restaurant.”

The cruisers agree.

“Yes it is,” said Jimmy Templet of Louisiana. “The way it’s laid out, you know, the atmosphere of it. It’s very nice. We enjoy it.”

“Well, I guess I want to be young again, you know,” added Bob Warren of Tennessee. “But, I know that ain’t happening. But this can make you young for a few minutes.”


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Mike Lacy

Mike Lacy

Mike Lacy was a print journalist for 37 years before joining the WLOX team. Most of his career he spent as a writer, editor and page designer at the Sun Herald newspaper.