Jackson County

Guess what Shady’s is morphing into and what the waitresses will wear

Owner of the once popular restaurant, Shady’s, is looking for zoning variances needed to switch to a nightclub, bar and restaurant format.
Owner of the once popular restaurant, Shady’s, is looking for zoning variances needed to switch to a nightclub, bar and restaurant format.

The business model has been successful in Panama City Beach, Florida, and Katheryne Shafer — owner of what was Shady’s restaurant on Pass Road — is planning on bringing it to Biloxi.

Placards announcing it suggest it’s a ‘brand new concept in bar entertainment’ and invites the public to ‘come grab some tail.’”

But the tail is more likely to be lobster.

It’s a bikini bar and nightclub. The name will be Mermaids, and the waitresses will be clad in mermaid outfits that incorporate the bikini.

It also will serve food for lunch and dinner, Shafer said, and her 22-year-old daughter will work there and help oversee it.

“It got the name bikini bar, because the girls will be in mermaid outfits,” Shafer said.

She said rumors that it would be a strip club are far from the truth. That’s not even possible in the zone where the building is.

Promo pictures show scantily clad mermaids look enticing. Shafer said the main entertainment experience will be a virtual mermaid tank on the outside deck, next to the windows so people can view the performances from the main room.

"There will be mermaid performances, live feedings, etc., like Weeki Wachee but with no water," Shafer said.

She said it’s patterned after a business she has in Panama City called Sisters of the Sea Grille & Grog that she said is highly successful there.

Shady’s wasn’t fully zoned to accommodate live entertainment, Shafer said, and her new business model also includes a DJ, karaoke and remaining open after 10 p.m. However, she said it won’t be as “high-energy” as Big Play, an amusement park nearby.

Shafer is on the agenda for the Biloxi Planning Commission meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday for a conditional use permit and a variance on the distance the businesses is required to be from the neighborhood behind it on Pass Road and a church that is also nearby. The business address is 1795 Pass Road.

She’s hoping the variance will better allow for live entertainment.

The request is for an existing building that’s situated on two parcels, a half-acre in size.

Shafer is from Panama City originally, but spent “two decades in casinos and table games” on the Coast, she said. That’s when she and her husband owned Shady’s. They returned to Panama City after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she said, and someone else managed Shady’s, which closed.

She said the Shady’s building has needed an overhaul, including carpentry work and painting.

Shafer said she’s used to push-back from the surrounding neighborhood. She said they got it when they tore down a nearby pawn shop to expand Shady’s and add parking. She has hired Michael Cavanaugh, an attorney who has worked with the city and has extensive experience in city zoning and planning.

She said he is investing in a great sound system, and is planning a $12.95 lobster special on Mondays. She said she has a chef from New Orleans.