Good times were had at Dan B's Restaurant and Lounge, 109 S. Beach Blvd., a true Gulf Coast icon.|
Owned and operated by Helen Decell for 26 years, Dan B's became Daniel's South Beach just months before Katrina hit the Coast. In December 2004, Helen's son Ray Murphy bought it, renovated it and opened for business in June 2005. One would think that the family's dream was shattered after Katrina wiped them out.
"Not shattered," Ray said, "just postponed a little. We are waiting on the city and a new road, and we plan to open back up in our original spot."
"All we found after the storm was a 3-inch piece of our hardwood floor and my pie cutter," said Lance Grogg, sous chef, "but we're coming back."
The family operation reopened in April on Seminary Road in the Bay just minutes from its original location. Ray's son Daniel, head chef, recalls that when he was just 6 years old he made coleslaw and fried catfish in the restaurant beneath his grandmother's lounge.
"Two of the best things on our menu today are the roast beef po-boy and the stuffed crab that my grandmother made famous," he said.
Though no longer on the beach, they kept the original name. Ray said, with a laugh, "Every time the band leader welcomes the crowd to 'Daniel's South' all the wait staff turn and yell 'South Beach.'
Every week the restaurant serves more than 300 for dinner and even more on the huge deck designed to host various musical entertainment. "Sunday's we're going to try open-mike," Ray said.
- PATRICIA 'TSH' HANCOCK