Restaurant News & Reviews

A restaurant owner isn’t betting on Gulfport beachfront’s new life — he’s all in

Patio 44’s new location is poised to be at the center of a growing downtown Gulfport.

Patio 44 owner Ron Savell said the entire 1.8 acres, which curves around the Gulfport Galleria of Fine Arts (a former Carnegie Library) will be dedicated to Patio 44. Property for the third Patio 44 location (in addition to those in Hattiesburg and Biloxi), is bordered by 24th Avenue, 14th Street, 23rd Avenue and, on the south side, a short access road. Parking will be on the north side of the property.

The restaurant is opening at “one of the prettiest locations around,” said David Parker, City of Gulfport Director of Economic Development.

“It’s right next to the (Mississippi) Aquarium, where work will be starting soon, and right next to the Markham, where work will be starting soon, and right down the street from the Island View, where they’re doing a new expansion,” he said. “There’s more going on in that area than any other place in the state.”

Site work will start this month, Savell said.

“We’re repaving and cleaning up the parking lot,” he said Thursday morning. The restaurant, at 8,500 square feet, will be on the south side of the property and will be “amazingly similar to the Biloxi location.”

However, there will be two significant differences.

“The party room will be able to become two party rooms with the push of a button,” Savell said.

And, keeping in mind the restaurant’s location near the water, the patio will be much larger than the one in Biloxi.

“We’re keeping the same indoor seating, but outside, we’re adding a deeper patio with more seating — about 110 patio seats at the Gulfport location. We’ll also have the outdoor fountain with the fire,” he said.

The Gulfport mayor’s office tweeted out the news Wednesday evening.

Menus will be identical to those at the Hattiesburg and Biloxi locations, with a seasonal emphasis, he said, and the Gulfport location’s bar will duplicate the impressive wooden one at the Biloxi location.

“And it will have a much larger wine case. I’m really looking forward to seeing it put in,” he said. “The one in Biloxi holds 970 bottles. This one will hold 1,500.”

Savell anticipates initial work beginning in late February. “And if Mother Nature cooperates, opening in about six months, so that would be around late August or early September,” he said.

Savell, who is also owner of the Mugshots regional chain of restaurants, had looked at the location “a couple of years ago as a possible Mugshots location. But I think the location we have now, on 49, is perfect for it. I’ve always liked the water, and Patio is a great fit for downtown, with Jones Park nearby and the Mississippi Aquarium expected to open up.”

Patio 44 describes its menu as “classic and Creole-style dishes” that use ingredients from the Gulf Coast and the Delta.

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1

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