Harrison County

Biloxi’s Desporte seafood market ‘closed until further notice’ but plans to reopen soon, co-owner says

A sign in front of Biloxi’s iconic Desporte & Sons Seafood caused somewhat of a commotion this week for customers of the restaurant and market.

The sign said Desporte & Sons Seafood market is closed until further notice. And, on Friday, a rope blocked the main entrance.

But Artie Desporte, president of the company and co-owner with Sean Desporte, said late Friday he plans to reopen on Tuesday.

The sign went up because Artie Desporte had eye surgery this week, said his wife, Becky Desporte. “We had no idea how surgery would go,” she said, so they weren’t sure when they would reopen.

She plans to change the sign that she said was intended for customers.

“We got chef Tim back,” she said and they will open with a “new crew.” She declined comment on the former staff but said there have been new hires in the last three weeks.

Trucks loaded with shrimp and other seafood left the property at 1075 Division St. at Porter Avenue on Friday as the warehouse portion of the business continues to operate.

Lois Reidy Feliciano said she often walked to the restaurant from her home in Biloxi. She’s been shopping at Desporte & Sons for years. The redfish is a favorite, she said, along with homemade crabcakes, and the prices were lower than other places, she said.

Desporte & Sons has been in business about 122 years — “longer than any other family in the state in Mississippi,” their website says. The wholesale business supplies restaurants and casinos across Mississippi. The market and cafe, renowned for its shrimp and crabmeat po-boys, provided the public with the same fresh and boiled seafood.

The business survived Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the BP oil spill in 2010 and during Christmas 2016, when streets near Desporte’s were down to dirt roads during the infrastructure project, Sean Desporte set up satellite locations so customers could get fresh seafood for their holiday dishes without driving through the construction.

Business was down 40 to 45 percent at that time due to the road construction, said Desporte, who is the fifth generation in the family business.