Cafe 1310 puts creative spins on favorites

Chicken & Chorizo Pizza is on the appetizer list at Cafe 1310 but makes a more than filling lunch. The pizza, on flatbread, also is pre-sliced for ease in sharing.
Chicken & Chorizo Pizza is on the appetizer list at Cafe 1310 but makes a more than filling lunch. The pizza, on flatbread, also is pre-sliced for ease in sharing. Courtesy Grace Newton

When I saw the sign for the new Cafe 1310 in downtown Gulfport, I wasn’t sure what to expect, until I dashed in one day and perkily asked for a to-go menu.

If you simply glance, you’ll see poboys, burgers, salads, wraps and sides. Oh, OK. But take a minute and really look at the menu. Among those poboys, for example, is The Southern Royal ($14 for 6-inch, $18 for footlong), with fried royal red shrimp, fried green tomatoes and red remoulade. Or the BBQ Bacon Gouda burger ($14), with gouda and barbecue sauce, bacon and tomato, and served with the side of your choice. Those sides include Grilled Bok Choy, Corn Maque Choux, Rosemary Potatoes, Crispy Potato Wedges and Cucumber-tomato Salad. All the poboys come with a side, too.

Even the appetizers, or starters, are intriguing. My eyes settled on the Pickle Egg Roll ($7), a whole dill pickle stuffed with bacon and cheddar and served with habanero ranch for dipping. I decided there were too many options for solo dining, so while my niece Grace Newton was in town from college, I took her along with me to check out Cafe 1310.

The sandwich board outside told me that day’s burger special was an off-the-menu burger, the Bacon Swiss Jalapeno burger served with Crispy Potato Wedges ($9.95). Grace took a while making her choice but finally settled on the Chicken & Chorizo Pizza ($10), a flatbread topped with zucchini, oregano, crushed tomato and mozzarella along with said chicken and chorizo; it’s on the starters menu. I went with the day’s special and a Pickle Egg Roll for our appetizer. We both ordered half-and-half tea.

You might be familiar with Cafe 1310’s building as the former Gulfport Bacchus location. A 1947 Dr. Pepper drink machine now sits in the front along with an attention-grabbing bench, which has an old truck tailgate as its back, and a very vintage Barq’s sign. Seating is comfortable, and there’s a balcony in addition to several downstairs tables.

The Pickle Egg Roll might sound like regret, but it’s more like inspiration. The pickle is hollowed (and likely patted dry) and filled with bacon and cheddar, then secured in its egg roll blanket and quickly fried. The result is a crispy shell, with a tart inside supplemented by creamy bacon goodness. That habanero ranch sauce is just slightly spicy and has the consistency of remoulade. Both Grace, who normally doesn’t like pickles, and I approved.

I’ll be honest. My mouth wasn’t sure it could handle the height of the burger when our main plates arrived. A steak knife was a welcome addition, and with a little smooshing and throwing fears of how I looked to the wind, I opened wide and took a big bite. That was a good burger. I was happily surprised to find the jalapenos had a light tempura-like coating and were lightly fried. The burger really needed no condiments, but I put a dab of mustard on the plate anyway. Those Crispy Potato Wedges? You get plenty, and they are crispy on the outside, nice and soft and potatoey on the inside.

Cafe 1310 has been open right at a month, owners Robert Koon and Jessica Koon said. The father-daughter team isn’t new to restaurants; Jessica is former director of catering and special events at Bacchus Catering. Robert, an attorney, also has business experience. “I take care of the business part, and she’s the restaurant part,” he said.

Popular dishes include the Chicken & Chorizo Pizza and the Pickle Egg Roll, as well as another appetizer, Sweet Beef Fries (sweet potato fries covered in demi-glaze brown sugar ground beef, $9).

“Nothing here is frozen, packaged or premade,” he said. “It’s all made in-house.”

The Koons plan on adding regular daily lunch specials at $8.95 as well as several desserts.

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1

Cafe 1310

Where: 1310 27th Ave., Gulfport

Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 4-10 p.m. Saturday.

Phone: 228-206-1098

Details: Burgers, salads, appetizers, wraps, poboys and sides. The bar is open in the evenings the restaurant is open, including $2 margaritas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.