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New Darwell’s restaurant reopens in Long Beach MS

Darwell’s restaurant, a Mississippi Gulf Coast staple known for funky vibe, live music and Southern fare, has reopened its doors after closing in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.

Darwell Yeager Jr., better known as Papa Darwell, decided to close the restaurant in October due to non-COVID-related health reasons. He told the Sun Herald in 2020 that he wanted to “rethink a plan for the future.”

The Long Beach spot is back with a new concept that focuses on local art, with a menu inspired by what you’d find at a festival.

Now called Papa Darwell’s Art Carnival Cafe, the restaurant offers a space for artists to come and display and sell their work on Saturdays and Sundays., Yeager said in the business’s new Facebook group.

The inside of the restaurant, renovated after Hurricane Zeta, also features even more art on its walls for guests to check out while eating.

The new menu features family recipes, Yeager said in the Facebook group, and includes three-cheese nachos, a smoked pork sandwich, hamburgers, corn dogs and sides.

It’s a “small menu but dad-gum good one,” he said.

Papa Darwell’s Art Carnival Cafe, 127 E. 1st St., is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Justin Mitchell is the retention and special projects editor for McClatchy’s Southeast region. He also reports on LGBTQ issues in the Deep South, particularly focusing on Mississippi.