Old South, a country-style buffet restaurant that is one of the most popular eateries in Camden reopened at 6:30 a.m. Friday after a three-week hiatus.

The Hatfield family closed Old South voluntarily in mid-May as the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control investigated the worst salmonella outbreak in state history. More than 300 people reported getting sick after eating at the restaurant, and the outbreak has been linked to the death of a Lugoff man.

The staff underwent training Wednesday and Thursday, and DHEC re-inspected the restaurant before it opened again.Friday, there were smiles and hugs and a sense of hope in the Old South kitchen as employees returned to work and customers began trickling in for Betty Hatfield’s homemade biscuits.

The Hatfields said they don’t know what effect the outbreak will have on the restaurant, but for now, they will try to make a comeback, serving fried green tomatoes on Wednesdays and all the other customer favorites.

Steele hasn’t even begun to estimate how much revenue the restaurant has lost in the past three weeks. She said their main concern has been for the people who suffered.

"These people are our extended family. It’s more about the love in here than the money."