GULFPORT -- Shaggy's has broken ground on its fourth Gulf Coast bar and grill, which will sit in the highly visible 'Y' that serves as the east entrance to downtown from U.S. 90 and across from the waterfront.
Owner Ron Ladner said in a news release that he and his wife thought about using a new concept for a restaurant in downtown Gulfport. But this spring they docked their boat in the city's harbor and spent some time hanging out downtown.
"It didn't take long to realize how strong our brand was here," Ladner said, "and how many people just gave up visiting our other locations because of the long waits once they arrived.
"So, we decided to just go with a Shaggy's instead."
Shaggy's also has locations in Pass Christian, Biloxi and Pensacola, Fla.
The Biloxi location includes a deck restaurant, The Salty Oyster.
Shaggy's Gulfport Beach, as the location will be called, is expected to open in late February. It will feature an elevated, cottage-style restaurant built to blend with residential design in the area, a bridge to an open-air bar on the south end overlooking the Mississippi Sound and an open-flame grill for chargrilled oysters.
Shaggy's is sticking with its successful casual dining menu.
Ladner opened the first Shaggy's in Pass Christian's harbor in 2006. He had traveled extensively on business and felt the Coast needed an open-air restaurant and bar like the ones he found in South Florida, California and the Caribbean.
"I had this vision for Shaggy's in the past and opened it up just as a hobby," he told the Sun Herald. "The demand at Shaggy's in the Pass was four to five times what I expected. It just took off and continued to grow. Biloxi has been even more successful."
He said the three Shaggy's locations have served more than 2,000,000 guests.
Ladner said his team has worked hard on the design for Shaggy's Gulfport Beach.
"We think it's going to be pretty special," he said.
With decks and interior space, the restaurant will be 4,200 square feet. He expects Shaggy's Gulfport to generate $175,000 a year in sales tax and employ 65 to 75 people.