Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar, a name synonymous with New Orleans, is opening a second restaurant — in the Gulfport beachfront building where Thomas Genin built and opened Ajax Seafood Kitchen 10 months ago.
Genin wants to focus on his successful brand, The Blind Tiger, which took off in Bay St. Louis in 2013, recently added a Biloxi restaurant on Casino Row and will open in 30 to 45 days in Slidell. Genin also recently opened Hotel Whiskey boutique hotel and restaurant in downtown Pass Christian.
The deal with Felix’s was just sealed. Genin was unavailable Friday night, but his controller and office manager, Kelly Peleaz, said Felix’s plans to open in May.
Ajax will serve its last meal Sunday evening.
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“Thomas just wants to focus on his brand,” she said. “He wants to focus on The Tiger. We’re just glad he’s getting a really good group.”
Ajax has been on the market a couple of months, Peleaz said. She said the pending sale was announced to staff members earlier this week. Some will move to one of the Blind Tigers; others have opted to stay in Gulfport and work for Felix’s.
“We’re so excited about them coming to the Coast,” Peleaz said of Felix’s. “We know that they have more than the average restaurant they can bring to the Coast — a New Orleans feel. We all think it’s going to be great for the Coast.”
Felix’s owner Danny Conwill is from the Coast. He’s been scouting Gulfport sites for awhile. The general manager from New Orleans, Robbie Orgeron, will run the Gulfport restaurant.
Felix’s, which is in the French Quarter, opened 70 years ago, according to its website. The restaurant is widely known for a variety of oyster dishes and other seafood.
The Sun Herald will update this story with more details about Conwill’s plans.
“We’ve had a great relationship with them,” Peleaz said. “That’s one of the positive notes with this. We’re helping them any way we can to make the transition easy. We are excited about them coming in.
“He’s been wanting to be on the Gulf Coast, so this was an opportunity.”