By DENNIS SEID / Daily Journal

TUPELO – After nearly three years of running Southern Steak & Fish, owner Blake Estes has decided to go in another direction.

He closed the restaurant on Industrial Road over the weekend, but is opening a new restaurant in about three weeks.

It will be called 206 Fish, Steak & Seafood House. It will occupy the spot most recently filled by Anthony’s Pizza, which closed last year. The location – 206 Troy St. in downtown Tupelo – is more famously known as the old Rib Cage spot. The barbecue restaurant and bar closed in 2006 after a 12-year run, and several restaurants have come and gone since.

But Estes, whose grandparents owned Estes Steak & Fish for 32 years, grew up in the restaurant business and has confidence going into his venture. Southern Fish & Steak was his first restaurant, and he said he established a steady and loyal clientele that will follow him.

“I’ve learned a whole lot over the past 2 1/2 years,” he said. “I know what sells well, what’s everybody’s favorites. I’ve tried everything. I’m one of those people that if you don’t try it, you don’t know. So I’ll give anything a shot. I might make a lot of money, I might not. But pretty much my best is going into this one.”

Estes has been thinking about the shift for some time. While the buffet business was good, the margins are even thinner when diners get to eat all they want. So, 206 Fish, Steak & Seafood will be strictly menu only.

“I like to call it an old-school fish and steak house with a new twist to it,” he said. “I’ll keep my simple menu but modernized it.”

The shrimp, oysters and crab legs will return, but not in all-you-can-eat fashion. The steak selection will expand, with black angus beef aged in house.

He plans to have weekly specials as well.

“We’ve done well with seafood, so we’ll introduce a few things as specials,” he said.

A full bar will be available, too.

“But I want to emphasize we’re a restaurant with a bar, not a bar with a restaurant,” he said. “I’m more of a food person – that’s more my speed.”

An awning will be added to the exterior, as well as outdoor seating.

“We’ll also have all the TVs showing ball games and things in the fall,” he said. “It’s going to be a neat thing. I’ve got some ideas I’m putting into this one.”

Hours will be Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Estes may extend hours Friday and Saturday to 10 p.m., and/or stay open later for special events like concerts.