It’s only January and already several new sweet, spicy and Southern restaurants are on the way downtown and to Coast casinos across South Mississippi.
Here are 15 eateries ready to debut over the next several months:
1. RAW Oyster Bar in Ocean Springs. Thomas Genin, who is known for his five locations of The Blind Tiger restaurants, tried something new when he opened RAW Oyster Bar in Bay St. Louis last year. On Thursday, he announced a second RAW is on the way to Ocean Springs.
The former Salvetti’s Italian Grill on Washington Avenue is being totally renovated inside and out. Genin said he expects RAW to open there starting with dinner in 60 days and by May to be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
“It’s just a cool concept,” Genin said. For those who want to eat fresh and light, there’s sushi, lobster and shrimp, along with raw and baked oysters. The Ocean Springs location will add Grab-N-Go so those working in downtown can pick up a quick sushi lunch.
“I think it’s going to light up downtown Ocean Springs,” he said. Henry Furr is designing the new restaurant with a custom 125-gallon lobster tank at the entrance and a private dining room for 50 people that will open to the large dining patio to double the party space. Outside will be a fireplace and a new bar to serve wines, mimosas and other drinks to shoppers and festival goers.
2. Fill-up with Billups. The fourth location of the restaurant that’s known for its hearty breakfasts should be open by mid-February in owner Jourdan Nicaud’s hometown of Pass Christian. Billups was a chain of gas stations that once operated in the South, and he’s partnered with Guy Billups and Lloyd Nicaud to bring back the name and open restaurants in Biloxi, Oxford and Madison.
Now they are renovating an 1812 home next to his Hotel Pass Christian, and across the street from his Bacchus on the Beach restaurant, to become the new Billups. “That’s why I love Pass Christian — the character we have here,” he said. Like the other locations, this Billups will specialize in big, hangover breakfasts, stone-ground grits, Belgian cinnamon toast and bananas Foster waffles, along with specialty Bloody Marys and sandwiches. This location also will have milk shakes and ice cream sundaes.
3. Deuce McAllister’s Ole Saint Kitchen & Tap at Boomtown Casino Biloxi. The former Saints running back opened his first “Ole Saint” in New Orleans. His second at Boomtown Biloxi combines classic Southern dishes such as gumbo, oysters and po-boys, with sports. Fans can “watch & wager” as the games play on 40 TVs, choose from 24 local craft beers and order from the full bar or wine list. McCallister’s memorabilia adds a special Southern and Saints flair to the new venue.
4. Sugar Factory at Hard Rock Casino Biloxi. The 24th Sugar Factory American Brasserie in the world is coming together in time to open in late January or early February. The combination restaurant and confectionery shop is right off the casino floor and will be open all day and night. There will be a colorful, floor-to-ceiling candy wall along with frozen hot chocolate and smoking sweet cocktails. Or start with a savory steak, monster burger, salad or specialty pizza.
5. Domino’s “Pizza Theater.” What was the first Domino’s to open in Mississippi at 1681 Pass Road in Biloxi 40 years ago is now the newest on the Coast. Glenn Mueller, Biloxi Domino’s franchise owner, said the location was given a much-needed facelift. “The store is now open-concept, where our customers can actually watch and track their pizza being made, each step of the way,” he said. This Domino’s has indoor seating and electronic tracking of carryout orders.
6. Cici’s Pizza. The popular pizza buffet opened Jan. 7 at 3709 Sangani Blvd. in D’Iberville. The franchise is the fourth in Mississippi and the only one on the Coast. The restaurant features slices of 15 pizzas at one price on the buffet, along with brownies and cinnamon rolls for a sweet finish.
7. Love Shack Bar & Grill is moving across Government Street into the recently closed location of The Hideaway. Signs in front of the restaurant say the Love Shack will reopen soon.
8. Woody’s Roadside is another Ocean Springs restaurant undergoing big changes. While the original restaurant continues to operate along U.S. 90, a new Woody’s going up just behind it will be bigger and have outdoor seating, said Ryan Glouner, assistant general manager . Construction is expected to be completed at the beginning of spring. That’s when the current building will be demolished to create much more parking for the new Woody’s.
9. Brick & Spoon is starting to go up outside Edgewater Mall. The restaurant franchise has been tagged as one of the 10 best breakfast spots in the country and also has burgers and salads. This is the first location in South Mississippi for the Southern-style restaurant and it is scheduled to open this summer.
10. Waffle House. This isn’t your typical yellow Waffle House going up across from the beach in East Biloxi. Because it’s in the historic district and a flood area, it will be brick clad, elevated and tucked under the oak trees. It’s the sixth Waffle House in Biloxi and should be very popular when the adjacent Hilton Garden Inn and Watermark Biloxi Hotel open this year in downtown Biloxi.
11. One Thirty One Lounge officially and fittingly has its grand opening on Lameuse Street in downtown Biloxi on 1/31. The venue is on the second floor, with a balcony overlooking Lameuse Street and the parade route, and has a full kitchen and bar.
12. Bean & Barley will be a combination coffee shop and craft beer venue when it opens in East Biloxi at 185 Reynoir St. Construction is just getting under way on this new place near Coast Transit.
13. Koi Sushi. What was for years Yuki’s Japanese Restaurant at 2389 Pass Road in Biloxi has become a second Coast location of Koi Sushi. The other location is on U.S. 49 in Gulfport.
14. Jia Latin-Asian fusion. The Asian restaurant at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino recently mixed it up by introducing Latin flavor to its Pan-Asian cuisine. Six Nikkei dishes now combine the flavors of Peru and Japan. “Introducing Nikkei, which is increasingly popular in major markets, to the Gulf Coast takes Jia to another level,” said Beau Rivage executive chef Kristian Wade. “Aji, ponzu, soy sauce and lime are all ingredients that seem to be made for each other and create flavors that surprise people the first time they try them. And then they can’t get enough,” Wade said.
15. Taco Sombrero in Ocean Springs. The popular fast-casual Mexican restaurant is opening its third location in Ocean Springs in the new Shoppes at Washington Avenue strip mall under construction. The eatery near Exit 50 on Interstate 10 will feature fresh tacos, burritos, salads and specialty items like quesadillas, tamales, taco burgers, chalupa and Mexican pizza.