Construction is done, the chalkboard menu and specials are posted, and The Blind Tiger on the beach at Harrah’s Gulf Coast Casino opens at 4 p.m. Friday.
“The first week or so we’re only going to be open for dinner,” said Shay Smith, marketing supervisor at Harrah’s.
Chef and owner Thomas Genin will open The Blind Tiger daily for lunch and dinner daily starting Feb. 24. The kitchen will turn out food from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and until 11 p.m. on weekends. The bars could remain open later, said Scott Sutherland, director of operations.
“We’re very happy, very excited to be here,” he said as he looked over the restaurant with seating for 160 indoors and out.
Genin is known for using only fresh ingredients for his famous fish tacos, tuna dip, crawfish and cheeseburgers. The restaurant doesn’t have a freezer for anything other than ice.
The architecture recalls the look of the seafood factories that once stood along the beach in East Biloxi. Wrap-around decks give 360-degree views of Deer Island, boats and dolphins in the channel and sunsets over the coastline, said Smith. Customers will be able to look out over Harrah’s Great Lawn.
The atmosphere is “come as you are,” she said. She expects to see customers in business suits and bathing suits and said, “Everyone is welcome here.”
Customers can park at the restaurant south of U.S. 90, where a handicapped-only elevator is available, or in Harrah’s hotel parking garage, which also provides handicapped-accessibility. An elevated crosswalk connects from the pool area of the resort to the restaurant, passing windows where guests can peek into the kitchen and watch preparations for a crawfish boil.
“This has been a project in the making for over a year now,” Smith said. Construction started in early October while the Coast was focused on Cruisin’ The Coast.
A dock so people can arrive by boat, picnic tables and volleyball nets near the water are in the plans, Genin said.
This is his second Blind Tiger location. The original is in Bay St. Louis and another is being built in Slidell. He also owns Ajax Seafood Kitchen & Bar on the beach in Gulfport, which boasts an expanded menu.