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New restaurant prepares fresh seafood

By Staff
OKATIBBEE CREEK FISH CAMP Larry and Sylvia Green, front, and Teresa and Jesse Hearne, back, own the Okatibbee Creek Fish Camp in the Centerhill community. The restaurant is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
July 10, 2002
Tucked away in the back of Jesse Hearne's mind was the idea of opening his own business, but he was saving it for just the right time.
It came in October when two couples came together to open Okatibbee Creek Fish Camp Hearne and his wife, Teresa, and Hearne's sister and brother-in law, Sylvia and Larry Green.
The Centerhill community eatery has been serving up hot and fresh catfish, seafood and steaks ever since.
Jesse ran an oyster shop on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a year, traveling back to his home in the Snell community on the weekends. He said all that driving was tough.
Jesse has been cooking for large numbers of people for 25 years.
All you can eat
The most popular item on the menu is the all-you-can-eat catfish dinner for $10.49.
Other items include plates of whole catfish, catfish fillets, oysters, fried and boiled shrimp, ribeyes and chicken tenders. Prices range from chicken dinners for $6.95 to ribeyes for $9.95 and $12.95.
The restaurant's fish is purchased from Clearwater Fish Company in Gainesville, Ala.
Dinners come with all the trimmings, including cole slaw and two kinds of specialty hush puppies corn and jalapeno pepper.
The restaurant can handle special events. It has a banquet room that seats 60 people; the dinning room holds about 150.
Word of mouth
Both men agree business has been wonderful so far. "The turnout has been great, really more than we expected," Green said.
Hungry customers have traveled from Philadelphia, the House community, Forest and Alabama to try the food.
He gives his employees the credit for the restaurant's success.
When it's open
The Okatibbee Creek Fish Camp is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Most of the time, you will find Jesse in the kitchen cooking alongside employee Eddie Johnson.
He believes his commitment to serving the highest quality of food will make the restaurant a favorite of seafood lovers.

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