Google “best seafood restaurants in Pascagoula,” and Bozo’s pops up.
“It’s not even a restaurant,” owner Keith Delcambre says with a smile.
“I’m a dump inspiring to be a dive,” he joked.
Yet, it was voted one of the 20 best seafood dives in America by Coastal Living magazine.
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It’s really a seafood market, but the deli food, poboys, seafood plates, steamed shrimp and crawfish draw in the crowds for weekday lunch and dinner and all day on weekends.
Brady’s, Scranton’s and Cornerstone Deli — those are the actual restaurants in the area, Delcambre said.
Still, he’s honored for the status and he wants to maintain it.
He looked back at the words Coastal Living used, one of the best seafood dives “of all time.”
“That brings tears to my eyes,” he said. USA Today called Bozo’s “a true taste of the Gulf.”
“Everything’s a gamble,” he said, standing in the cold outside Bozo’s, at 2012 Ingalls Ave. The new venue is under construction behind him. It sits right behind the current building, and will be an upgrade to the deli.
Delcambre, who grew up at Bozo’s — a family grocery and seafood market that started in Biloxi and moved into Pascagoula in the mid-1950s — thought long and hard before making this expansion. His friends say he has to think about things for three years and talk about them for three more, before he makes a move.
He has been successful for years with his crowded deli, fish market and seasonal Christmas tree lot and crawfish boils.
This new venue, however, has required some thought, planning and building.
It will be Bozo’s II, an open-air concept with captain’s curtains — heavy plastic panels for walls between thick posts.
It will be a place away from the hustle and bustle of the seafood market deli, where there is sometimes three lines out the door.
Delcambre said he hates when people stick their head in the door, look at the crowd and leave.
The new space will be a restaurant and bar. It will be open-air, he said, but it also will have air conditioning, heat and big fans in the summer.
It will still be Bozo’s but “kicked up a notch,” he said.
For the new restaurant, the former barber shop behind Bozo’s — which Bozo’s bought and converted to offices — will provide the restrooms.
They are shooting for opening on Super Bowl weekend in February, but Delcambre knows construction schedules can get derailed. Recent weather has already taken its toll. Alexander Construction is handling the job.
It’ll be open by March, for sure, he said, right when crawfish season kicks in.
Here’s what it will offer:
▪ Char-grilled oysters
▪ Po-boys, crawfish and beer
▪ A full bar
▪ TV for sports
▪ Outside fire pit
▪ Bozo’s traditional fare
▪ Fish and shrimp tacos
▪ Shrimp and grits
▪ Its traditional, casual atmosphere