The Oby's concept began with a U.S. Navy man's fondness for great specialty sandwiches. While stationed at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Don O'Bannon fell in love with the food offered at a local delicatessen. It provided him the "food for thought" to pursue his vision of owning a restaurant.
When the Starkville, MS, native returned home from his Navy service, he worked as a computer programmer while earning his Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Always in the back of his mind, though, were his love of great food and a dream of opening his own restaurant. After a few years, O’Bannon reached a crossroads in his career and realized, "No time like the present!" He traveled the Mississippi Delta, the Gulf Coast, and New Orleans to learn the restaurant business from the ground up. Don learned everything from what equipment was best to how to run a business. He also picked up more than a few special recipes along the way. He learned about the world-famous muffuletta sandwich which, with his personalized touch, has become the crown jewel of the Oby's restaurant today. On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, he found the secrets to delicious seafood, shrimp, oyster, alligator, and crawfish po-boys. His only regret would be that he had not opened a restaurant sooner.
In 1976, Don had everything in place and opened a 55-seat restaurant in Starkville, Mississippi—home of Mississippi State University. Oby's quickly became a favorite with college students and local families. As word spread of the "ultimate po-boys", Don redecorated with a charming and nostalgic theme and began serving his customer's meals on pewter. Business boomed and the restaurant has since undergone four expansions, now boasting a 175-seat dining area. With over 35 years of experience, the foundation has been laid and secured for future growth.