Hancock County

New Bay St. Louis restaurant has Seattle vibe and a new take on Coast seafood

The owner of The Blind Tiger and it’s five locations is bringing a new concept restaurant and bar to Old Town in the Bay.

RAW describes more than the menu that offers fresh seafood and sushi. It’s the look and vibe of the new restaurant on the ground floor of Harbor View Condominiums. With its concrete countertops, subway tiles and edgy architecture, Genin said it was designed to be more like a venue in New York City or Seattle.

RAW Oyster Bar is at 118 North Beach Blvd., adjacent to The Harbor Bar that Genin opened a month ago,with its swirls of blue on the floor and rich copper vent hood over the bar and on the table tops. Customers can mingle between the two venues, sipping high-end tequila, classic martinis and specialty cocktails, craft beer and a selection of wines by the glass, Genin said, while enjoying the seafood and the crowd.

The restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday and lunch Friday through Sunday.

Fresh from the dock

Immediately inside the new restaurant customers get a taste of what the restaurant is about, as they take in the spread of seafood on ice.

“Fresh is best,” is Genin’s mantra for RAW, which already is referred to by the letters R-A-W, just as The Blind Tiger now goes by TBT.

“We pick up our shrimp daily at the Pass Harbor,” he said. Oysters come out of Pass Christian. Lobster is delivered to RAW twice a week and sells out quickly, he said. A board inside the door tells if peel-and-eat shrimp or spicy snapper rolls are among the daily specials.

Oysters are served raw, oven-roasted, spicy or savory with bleu cheese and bacon. Adding to the variety, RAW also serves barbecue seafood plates, swordfish dip or shrimp, crab and brie dip.

Roll it up

The idea for RAW began in 2015, Genin said, when the developer of Harbor View Condominiums offered him the ground floor spaces. Without being sure of his plans for the location, Genin said, he leased the property.

“This was before The Blind Tiger grew into five locations,” he said.

Genin is 38 and he and his wife have two children, whose pictures playing in the Bahamas are on the walls of RAW. Over corporate meetings while on the boat fishing, where Genin says he comes up with some of the best ideas, he decided to add sushi to the RAW menu.

Scott Sutherland, director of operations for TBT, knew the sushi chefs they hired who now make basic rolls and signature rolls like the house roll with spicy tuna and spicy salmon. The variety will be changed often, Genin said.

About half of what they’ve sold since opening are oysters and half sushi, Genin said. “Most people order both when they come here,” he said

Already expanding

RAW Bar made its debut on Thursday, Sept. 27. By that Saturday, Genin had text message requests from LSU and Ole Miss fans, who had been to RAW Friday night, asking him to open in Oxford and Baton Rouge.

Although RAW is only open a week, Genin said he’ll announce his second location in a month, but won’t say yet if it will be in either of those college towns.

RAW takes advantage of its location in Bay St. Louis with a patio seating where customers can get a front row seat to the action along busy Beach Boulevard.

“I think Bay St. Louis maybe has more foot traffic than anywhere on the Coast,” Genin said, and that is about to increase. A 60-room hotel will be built on the corner near RAW, filling out the available space in the downtown, he said, and making it even more of a destination.