Greenville hoping to land Wintzell’s Oyster House

Published 1:58 pm Thursday, September 22, 2011

A famous Mobile eatery may soon call Greenville home.

Officials with Wintzell’s Oyster House are exploring the possibility of opening a restaurant in the Camellia City.

“We’re up and down I-65 all the time traveling from Mobile to our Montgomery restaurant and we’ve thought for a couple of years now that Greenville would be a good location for a Wintzell’s,” Bob Donlon, Wintzell’s CEO, said.

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Wintzell’s, which was founded in 1938 by J. Oliver Wintzell, has 12 locations throughout Alabama and Florida. The eatery is know for fresh Gulf seafood, and was named in Willard Scott’s All-American Cookbook for the best oysters and crabs.

On Wednesday, Mayor Dexter McLendon showed Donlon four possible locations for the restaurant, which according to McLendon could open as soon as next summer should Donlon decide to locate a restaurant in Greenville.

“We’re very excited about the possibility of having a Wintzell’s Oyster House in Greenville,” McLendon said. “It’s one of the finest restaurants in the state and to have one on Exit 130 would be a great addition to our community.”

According to Donlon, if Wintzell’s does locate in Greenville it will likely employ 125 workers at the restaurant.

“Typically when we open a new restaurant it employs between 100 and 150 people,” he said. “I think a restaurant in Greenville would employ as many as 125 people.”

McLendon believes the restaurant’s impact could extend far beyond the number of jobs created.

“I think Wintzell’s would become a destination place for people traveling up and down the Interstate,” McLendon said. “It would certainly pull of a lot of people off the Interstate who would probably stop at our gas stations and fill up and spend money at other businesses around town.”

Residents will have the opportunity to sample Wintzell’s food when the restaurant caters the 2nd Annual Whimdoozie of a Fish Fry and More on Oct. 28.