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Emeril’s favorite Gulf Coast restaurant is in Mississippi

Restaurateur Emeril Lagasse and his wife, Alden Lovelace arrive at the James Beard Foundation awards gala in 2013 in New York. Lagasse said his wife is from Gulfport and one of their favorite restaurants in Mary Mahoney’s in Biloxi.
Restaurateur Emeril Lagasse and his wife, Alden Lovelace arrive at the James Beard Foundation awards gala in 2013 in New York. Lagasse said his wife is from Gulfport and one of their favorite restaurants in Mary Mahoney’s in Biloxi. Invision File

Chef Emeril Lagasse ranks Mary Mahoney’s Old French House in downtown Biloxi as one of his favorite restaurants.

Lagasse and other New Orleans celebrity chefs listed their three favorite restaurants on the Gulf Coast in a Times-Picayune feature article. Lagasse put Mary Mahoney’s at the top of his list.

“It’s an institution,” Lagasse said. “My wife is from Gulfport and this is not only a frequent stop for our family and where we celebrate any momentous occasion, but it’s really a beautiful restaurant in a historic home and is a destination not to miss.”

“For one of the top chefs in American to say it’s one of his favorite places — what an honor,” owner Bobby Mahoney said. The restaurant has hosted a birthday party for Emeril’s father-in-law, who lives in Gulfport, and other family events.

“He’s a good friend,” Mahoney said. “When he thinks about favorite places on the Gulf Coast he thinks about Mary Mahoney’s.”

The restaurant has been in business for 53 years, and Mahoney said, “I’ve been there all 53.” Pictures of presidents and celebrities who have dined there hang on the walls, and Emeril, smiling with Mahoney’s sister Eileen Mahoney Ezell, is prominently displayed.

Tory McPhail, executive chef of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, listed Shaggy’s on Beach Boulevard in Biloxi as one of his favorites.

“It’s a beach bar. You can roll in there on Sunday afternoon and hear fantastic reggae,” McPhail said. He recommends ordering peel-and-eat shrimp and chargrilled oysters.

Adam Biderman, chef and owner of Company Burger in New Orleans, said Tato-Nut Donut Shop on Government Street in Ocean Springs is “the best doughnut spot I’ve been to.” He said the shop just has “weird hours.”

Earlier this month, Mary Mahoney’s was ranked as the Top Seafood Restaurant in Mississippi by “Best Things Mississippi.” Drago’s in Jackson, operated by Mahoney’s cousin, was third on the list, following Half Shell Oyster House. Also on the list are White Cap and Blow Fly Inn in Gulfport, Anthony’s Under the Oaks in Ocean Springs, and Taranto’s and McElroy’s Harbor House in Biloxi.

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