The food and atmosphere that have made Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar in New Orleans a classic are being replicated at the beach in Gulfport beginning this weekend.
The restaurant on U.S. 90, west of Cowan Road, will open Friday if the inspections are complete in time and by Saturday for certain, said Robbie Orgeron, area director for Felix’s. It will be open daily for lunch and dinner.
The views over the Mississippi Sound will be amazing, butOrgeron said Felix’s will be even more memorable for the cuisine.
“We want to be a restaurant people will enjoy all year,” he said. “Our New Orleans menu will be here,” highlighted by fresh charbroiled or raw oysters and great seafood. At the Gulfport restaurant, they’ll add pasta, steaks and seafood boils, along with chicken and burgers. For vegetarians, he said, “we can even do a primavera pasta.”
A six-week renovation of the former Ajax Seafood Kitchen & Bar turned the Caribbean-style beach bar into a casual-dining restaurant, said Scott Drown, owner of Scott Drown Construction in Gulfport.
“We’ve redone the entire kitchen from top to bottom,” said General Manager Alex Saybe. They also remodeled the restrooms, put down a new floor and topped the oyster bar with a slab of granite. Touches of Felix’s trademark white and green are also going in, along with the iconic neon signs.
“Hopefully, I’m going to have one sign here this week,” Orgeron said, but the really big sign, which he joked will be able to be seen from space, will take a bit longer to arrive.
The restaurant has seating for about 60 indoors and 60 on the decks, along with areas that can be booked for private events.
Saybe and the other members of the new management team, Jessie Poche, Christopher McGee and Lindsay Cooper, worked at Felix’s in New Orleans in preparation for the Gulfport opening.
“We fully expect to bring a New Orleans–style vibe,” Saybe said, along with Mississippi hospitality and great food. An oyster shucker will be behind each bar for live interaction, as in New Orleans.
“I promise you it’s going to be consistently fantastic,” he said.
“We’re also going to bring over some classic New Orleans cocktails. We’ve got to have Sazerac,” he said, along with a couple variations on the Hurricane.
A staff of 75 to 85 is hired and training this week in preparation for the Memorial Day weekend.
“That was the plan all along,” Saybe said of the opening, just as summer starts on the Coast. “We made it a point to hire really great people.”