Billboards along Interstate 10 and main roads in Hancock County proclaim Silver Slipper Casino served a hefty 200 tons of crab legs in 2015.
That actually rose to 225 tons before the year was over, General Manager John Ferrucci said. It wasn't worth updating the signs again, he said, because a new crab leg promotion will begin New Year's Day.
Silver Slipper is known for its quirky promotions -- like the $1 million cash it had on display for most of a year before it was given away -- and customers really got a kick out of watching the tonnage of crab legs grow on the signs, Ferrucci said.
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"They first ask if it's true," he said. It is. A trailer delivers 34,000 pounds at a time, and he said, "It adds up."
Dungeness crab, favored by many crab connoisseurs in South Mississippi, were hit this fall with a massive algae bloom in the Pacific Northwest, closing the fishing season there.
Silver Slipper had a stockpile of crabs that are safe to eat and Ferrucci said, "We've got enough to get us through New Year's Eve."
On New Year's Day, Silver Slipper introduces a tasty alternative -- Bairdi crab.
"They're huge and they're delicious," he said, and they will be on the Silver Slipper buffet starting New Year's Day and then every Thursday through Saturday buffet for $29.95.
"We talk to the people who harvest the crab directly," he said, and they buy from local suppliers. Although unconfirmed, those suppliers have told local casinos managers Mississippi is the largest consumer of crab legs in the country.
"I don't think any other jurisdiction today does crab legs like we do them on the Coast," Ferrucci said.
The delicacies bring in customers. "We're going to feed over 30,000 people this month just on the buffet," he said.
Almost all of the Coast's 12 casinos are featuring crab legs on the New Year's Eve and New Year's Day buffets.
"They love the crab legs," Chett Harrison, general manager of Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi, said of his customers. "You just have to serve some or they'll find somewhere that does."
Golden Nugget goes big, serving king crab legs every weekend and for the New Year.
"King crab are special any time," he said, and they have the bonus of being easier to eat with less waste.
Palace Casino, which normally serves crab legs Fridays and Saturdays, will have them on the New Year's Eve buffet.
The casinos also are featuring prime rib, steaks, sushi, brunches and late-night menus for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and through the holiday weekend.
And because it's New Year's, people expect something more on the buffet.
Additions to the Island View and other casino buffets are pork and "Hopping John's black-eyed peas for a lucky 2016 and seasoned cabbage for a prosperous 2016."