A notice posted on the door of Bonefish Grill at Edgewater Mall on Monday morning said the restaurant has closed, yet employees who are out of a job may not be unemployed for long.
By early Monday afternoon, Rob Stinson, who owns Salute in Gulfport and three restaurants in Biloxi, already had 11 applications from former Bonefish Grill employees to work at one of his four restaurants.
He's inviting others to a job fair at 10 a.m. Thursday at Beach Bums, 1775 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi, which soon will have a new name and concept.
"We're going to do this quickly," Stinson said. Next Monday, Beach Bums will close -- only to reopen three days later as Pelican Wharf, a restaurant serving lots of fresh seafood with a Cajun flair.
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News reports and blogs said parent company Bloomin' Brands, which also operates Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill, will close 14 of its Bonefish Grill locations.
The staff posted their comments on social media after they learned of the closing.
The restaurant opened in April 2005, shortly before Hurricane Katrina, and the closing leaves only one Bonefish Grill in the chain in Mississippi at Madison, and others are at Mobile and Metairie.
"I feel so sorry for their employees," Stinson said. "What a great group of people."
The demise of Bonefish Grill comes at an opportune time for Stinson. "The Reef and Baja (Beach Biloxi) have both gotten really busy," he said of his eateries on Restaurant Row in Biloxi. He also needs a few more employees at Salute, and he said the staff at Bonefish Grill are well-trained.
And in the constant evolution of retail and restaurants, the new Shoe Dept. Encore opens Friday at Edgewater Mall. The 16,000 square foot store fills the space of the former Picadilly's restaurant and nearby stores on the southeast side of the mall.