Coast restaurants prepare for Lent

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Today marks the start of the Lenten season and local restaurants are gearing up for business. With most people not choosing to eat meat on Friday’s, seafood restaurants expect to see a spike in crowds.

Gulfport resident Belinda Nelson said, “I’m going to give up eating meat for this Lent season.”

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Whether it is meat, fast food, or alcohol, some choose to give up something during the Lenten season. For most, it’s the absence of meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent that’s most popular. Luckily for us, we live on the Gulf Coast where there seems to be an unlimited supply of seafood. “It’s very easy not to have to eat meat when you live where we do with all the fresh seafood, all the local restaurants that serve such wonderful meals. It’s really an easy thing to do,” said Nelson.

While it is fairly easy to abide by the no-meat rule, things are a little different for restaurants in the area, like Taranto and Son’s Seafood in Gulfport. Taranto’s Co-owner Gindy Taranto said, “We love Lent because it is our busiest time here. There are so many Catholics in this area that do not eat meat on Friday and you know, we are a seafood restaurant, so it does up our business quite a bit.”

Lent drives up business about 25 percent, which is a big deal for a family-owned restaurant. Between the added business for crawfish and Lent, Taranto says they have to make sure they have all their bases covered. “We have to add on extra workers just for the extra people that come in here and also we have to order extra everything it seems like.”