Food & Drink

Felix’s restaurant bringing oysters, trademark neon to Gulfport

Danny Conwill is an investment banker from New Orleans who in 2012 bought Felix's Restaurant & Oyster Bar in the French Quarter. He plans to open a second location of the well-known restaurant in early May in Gulfport, where he grew up.
Danny Conwill is an investment banker from New Orleans who in 2012 bought Felix's Restaurant & Oyster Bar in the French Quarter. He plans to open a second location of the well-known restaurant in early May in Gulfport, where he grew up.

The owner of Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar in New Orleans, Danny Conwill, said he will be bringing all the eatery’s popular oyster and Gulf seafood dishes, plus the trademark neon signs, to a second location on U.S. 90.

Felix’s is moving into the Caribbean-style building where Coast restauranteur Thomas Genin opened Ajax Seafood Kitchen & Bar 10 months ago. Conwill said he has gained a few pounds eating Genin’s delectable dishes over the decades. They first met when Genin worked as a chef at Emeril’s in New Orleans.

Conwill, a full-time investment banker, bought Felix’s in 2012. The restaurant is known for its oysters — raw, fried, chargrilled and in specialty dishes. Felix’s serves up to 12,000 oysters a day, he said. The restaurant opened more than 70 years ago.

“It’s an iconic brand in New Orleans,” he said. “It’s really the original oyster house over there. I was thrilled with the opportunity when it became available.”

The Ajax property went on the market after Genin decided to focus on his expanding restaurant and bar brand The Blind Tiger, which he started in Bay St. Louis in 2013.

Ajax developed a loyal following, so Conwill said he plans to keep some popular items on the menu.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to take over a business that was already established and had good, loyal customers,” Conwill said. “We want to make sure we continue to offer the things they enjoyed at Ajax.”

Conwill grew up in Gulfport and often spends time in Pass Christian, where he and his parents have homes.

“I look forward to being over there and being a friendly competitor with all the great eating establishments on the Coast,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll fill our niche and everybody will be able to rotate from one place to the next and have good experiences at all our places.”

Conwill said he hopes many of the Ajax staff members will decide to join Felix’s.

He also likes the design of the current building, including a deck with bar overlooking the beach. He wants to add a touch of New Orleans and Felix’s to the building.

“There will absolutely be neon,” Conwill said. “That’s an iconic look for us. You can rest assured the trademark red, white and green neon of Felix’s will be on full display.

“We are pretty proud of our logo and imagery. We think people will recognize it. Those who are familiar with it, it will put a smile on their face.”

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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