Business

Wintzell's Seafood Restaurant opening on Biloxi beach

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD 
 The last day to cruise into Hooters Biloxi Beach is Friday. The restaurant will close at 11 p.m. and another restaurant will move into the U.S. 90 location.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD The last day to cruise into Hooters Biloxi Beach is Friday. The restaurant will close at 11 p.m. and another restaurant will move into the U.S. 90 location.

BILOXI -- Wintzell's Seafood Restaurant will open next month in the same location on U.S. 90 in Biloxi that is being vacated by Hooters Biloxi Beach.

"We've been building up to this," Henry Wintzell Sr. said Monday. Announcements on the Internet said the new restaurant is coming soon to the Biloxi beach, but no location was provided.

"I think it's going to be a great addition to the Coast," said Wintzell, who is not related to the family that operates oyster houses in the Mobile area.

South Mississippi already has some good seafood restaurants, he said. Wintzell's, which he will operate with his son, Henry Wintzell Jr., will have a bit of a twist.

"We're not afraid of spices," the elder Wintzell said.

He is from New Orleans and said the restaurant will feature authentic Cajun dishes such as their own style of barbecued shrimp with French bread, gumbo, a whole red snapper and stuffed flounder -- "All great New Orleans dishes," he said. The giant seafood platter will be big enough to feed two or three people, he said.

Wintzell also owns Slap Ya Momma's BBQ Smokehouse nearby on the Biloxi Strip. His brother Charles operated a Wintzell's in Wiggins before his death and the new Biloxi restaurant will be in memory of him.

The restaurant is expected to open daily for lunch and dinner beginning in May.

Monday signaled the end of Hooters in Biloxi, when employees were told the restaurant will close Friday.

General manager Peter Meleones called a meeting for the restaurant's 25 employees at 10 a.m. to inform them the doors will close at 11 p.m. Friday.

Several new restaurants have opened on the beach nearby and business had dropped off at the restaurant, which contributed to the decision, Meleones said.

Rather than closing immediately, this will give employees a chance to work out the week, he said, and patrons time for a last visit.

Every employee still will have a job, he said. "Anybody who wants to go to work at our other locations is more than welcome to."

The management also has locations on U.S. 49 in Gulfport and in Hattiesburg and Meleones said, "These two locations are healthy, We do not anticipate any other closings."

With Wintzell's opening in about a month, "The building will not stay dark very long," Meleones said.

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