Coney Island Cafe celebrates 100th-year anniversary

Hattiesburg restaurant Coney Island Cafe celebrates 100 years in business
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 4:59 AM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - If the walls at Coney Island Cafe in Hattiesburg could talk--imagine the stories after 10 decades.

“The biggest thing is the memories that they can share and everything that the customers bring to us from the past,” said owner Brian Fokakis. “It means a lot to us.”

Fokakis is the fourth, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather before him.

“My dad was such a hard worker, Fokakis said. “My memories of my dad were (of him) constantly doing something.

“He was always working.”

The restaurant just celebrated its 100th-year anniversary, but there was a time when uncertainty whether it would reach that milestone.

“We were all concerned if it’s ever gonna stay open or close,” worker David Taaffe said. “You know, a lot of people around here have been coming here for longer than I have.

:”Nobody knew. Nobody had an idea. You know, when his dad was gone, it was like, ‘What’s going to happen? You know, are they ever gonna reopen.’”

Fokakis said hearing his long-time customers’ describe the restaurant’s past remind him why the doors still are open.

“We have customers that come in every day that are just say in their 80s, some in their 90s, and I get to listen to some of their stories about coming in when they were my age and even younger,” Fokakis said.

Fokakis said memories of his father help keep the restaurant alive--as it has for generations.

“Making it to 100 years was something that was big for my dad,” Fokakis said. “It was a goal of his, and once he passed, we all kind of sat down and my sister was like, ‘We can just make it to 100 years,’ and I told her,’Well, you know, if we’re gonna make it to 100 years, we have to make another 100 years.”

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