Restaurant News & Reviews

No restaurant has survived in this Long Beach Harbor location. Can a new concept change that?

Some people call it The Spaceship. Others think it looks more like a boat. Whatever you call it, the long, elevated building in the Long Beach Harbor is an attention grabber.

It's been the home of two restaurants, The Oyster Reef Club and Brackish Seafood Restaurant, since it was built in 2015. Now, two young Coastians are planning to turn its 7,000 square feet into Harbor Market, a food hall, craft market and entertainment center.

Jourdan Nicaud and Quentin Denney's inspiration for this venture includes St. Roch Market in New Orleans and The Block in San Antonio. St. Roch, for example, describes itself as "a Southern food hall featuring a diverse lineup of food and beverage purveyors."

On the ground level on the building's west side, a stage will accommodate live music. Upstairs, Nicaud and Denney are planning to upgrade and expand the building's current bar area, adding sliding glass doors so patrons can enjoy the music from downstairs. This area has views of the south, west and north sides.

The current kitchen will become a communal kitchen for the six small restaurant "almost chutes," as Denney describes them. "It's sort of like a food court, but not really," he said.

It's too early for Nicaud and Denney to name names, but they're anticipating fare such as pizza, burgers and tacos, sushi and quick-lunch Asian, all with local names — no chains or franchises.

They also want to keep prices modest.

"We're not going high end," Nicaud said. "The average price will be around $10. At St. Roch's and The Market, the prices are around $8 to $12."

With more housing being constructed for students at nearby USM Gulf Coast, Denney said, the student population as well as Gulfport's Naval Construction Battalion Center Seabees are especially in their line of vision.

A bakery is interested in claiming the building's upstairs east side, creating a party area where decorating classes also can be held. This area has views of the south, east and north sides.

Downstairs, shiny Airstream campers will house a variety of vendors. One familiar local boutique already has signed on, and Nicaud said the name recognition has been drawing the interest of other vendors, such as a paddleboard rental.

For those enjoying live music on the outdoor stage, a mobile bar will be located conveniently nearby, and a children's play area will provide an activity spot for youngsters.

Denney sees the venture as helping to expand interest in downtown Long Beach.

"Finally Friday is now taking off, and we want to continue its success into the harbor," he said.

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1