SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (AP) — On their honeymoon near Heber Springs, Ark., they started to dream — someday they'd open a high-end restaurant and bar.
The atmosphere would be casual and the food and service would be excellent.
At each restaurant they visited for a meal, they made plans — years and years of plans.
"We made little notes," Donna Wadford said.
And then the day came that they opened their own restaurant, but it wasn't just a place to eat.
It was a place to smoke. They created a cigar bar — the only one, vendors told them, in the state of Mississippi.
Wadford's Grill & Bar, 474 Church Road East near the Interstate 55 overpass in Southaven, celebrated a year open in May.
"Everywhere you go in DeSoto County, everything is the same," said Tracy Skelton, 42, reclined on a couch in the cigar room. "This is just a little bit different."
Wadford, 47, cut her teeth on Donna's Grill in Olive Branch. After closing it, she moved into the Southaven market. The new restaurant is at least double capacity.
Wadford and her husband of 15 years, Glen, "love the beach" so they brought it into the restaurant.
The wall colors mimic blue skies and tan beaches. Décor includes a boat paddle, a swordfish and starfish.
A lot of the food also harks back to the water. Entree offerings include a fish of the day, the ever-popular catfish plate and shrimp.
The restaurant also offers burgers and other sandwiches, soups and salads, desserts, a martini menu and a wine selection.
A separate room is set aside for private parties or for patrons who want to sit in nonsmoking. Customers may choose from a table or a seat at the bar. Or they may want to walk through the doors of the cigar room, equipped with a walk-in humidor that keeps 124 varieties of cigars at 70 percent humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
"It's enjoyed like wine," said Skelton, who enjoyed a stogie with friends before heading home to Hernando.
Sherri Ingram, 57, of Southaven, soaked in the company of the cigar room but raved about the food.
"The food is excellent," she said. "I don't care what you order. This is our favorite place. We were here the first night it opened."
While Donna Wadford enjoys only the occasional cigar, her husband is more regular about it. His enjoyment of them motivated the Wadfords to include the cigar room.
Being chosen by people's ballot for Best of Service at Taste of DeSoto this past winter signaled to the Wadfords that all that dreaming was worthwhile.
"Only being open less than nine months — I was elated to be recognized," Donna Wadford said.