Restaurant News & Reviews

No restaurant has survived in this waterfront spot. Can these Gollotts turn its luck around?

Shawn Gollot’s family name has been synonymous with seafood on the Coast for generations. His wife, Lilian Perez-Gollott, grew up in her family’s restaurants. Now, they’re pooling their combined heritage into an investment on Biloxi’s Back Bay that is designed to give locals a family-friendly destination.

Gollott’s Seafood Restaurant will open in late spring or early summer in the previous Biloxi Lugger location, at 200 E. 8th St., next to the Biloxi Boardwalk Marina. It’s also the former home of the Hook Up. The building features a wooden interior reminiscent of the hull of a boat, soaring ceilings and stunning views of Back Bay and the Biloxi Bay Bridge from the decks. There’s also the marina on the western side of the restaurant, providing protected harbor in the Bay and an opportunity for dockside dining.

“We’ve always wanted to be on the waterfront,” Shawn said. “We’re boat people, and this area is about the water.”

“And this is old Biloxi,” Lilian added. “This is going back to the roots of Biloxi. It’s The Point.”

The restaurant is not connected to C.F. Gollott & Son Seafood, Inc., but the family’s longtime business in D’Iberville, not that far from the restaurant, has been a part of Shawn’s entire life.

“Our family’s business has been in D’Iberville since 1932, and all my life, I’ve known seafood. I would work at the factory in the summers. We would ride our bikes down Brody Road to snag mullet out there,” he said.

Similarly, Lilian “grew up in a booth” at her family’s restaurants, delivering chips and salsa to tables and doing her homework in a booth during slower times. The daughter of Jose Perez, she continues to work with her father at their restaurant, Pepe’s Bosque in D’Iberville.

“In fact, we had thought the restaurant we would open together would be another Pepe’s,” Shawn said. Then the opportunity to take over the old location of the Biloxi Lugger, which closed in 2016 after one year, came their way. The location, the water — it all said “Biloxi” to them.

“We want to offer what we want to have on a Sunday afternoon with the family,” Shawn said.

“We travel on our boat, and we know what we know what we like and what we don’t like. So we’re using our lifestyle to know what we want to provide for everyone,” Lilian said.

As they continue to tweak the menu, the couple want to evoke old Biloxi without a literal interpretation and without mimicking the menu of the previous restaurants in the same location. “I want it to feel like you’re coming to my family’s house for a meal,” Shawn said.

“And everybody knows Trudy can cook,” Lilian said, referring to her mother-in-law.

“So if they order a po-boy, we want them to have plenty of oysters and shrimp on that po-boy,” Shawn added.

As parents themselves, they also want to provide a destination that everyone, including kids, can look forward to visiting.

“That’s why we’re putting the sand beach back in, and adding a roof to the back deck, so kids can enjoy the outside and their parents can enjoy the deck nearby. Kids aren’t all that interested in the menu or what’s going on inside. They want to have fun playing, then they’ll stop to eat their meal, and then go back to playing. So kids can be kids and adults can be adults and the kids aren’t asking if it’s time to go yet,” Shawn said.

Still, they know the location will be a big draw for locals, and, they hope, locals who want a reliably good seafood restaurant to recommend to visitors.

“What was it you said on Facebook?” Shawn asked Lilian, who replied, “‘Your seafood, your neighbor, your backyard.’ ”

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1