Dining local on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
First, let’s catch up. Just over a month I posted a blog about how my wife and I decided to dine out at local restaurants as much as possible. Since then we have discovered several restaurants that we did not know existed and have dined at some great (and not so great) new ones. The support for our little adventure has been extremely positive. My thanks to those of you who have emailed me with your comments. Just to clarify, we make every effort to dine at a local restaurant when we go out for a sit down meal. So to the person who saw me driving through Wendy’s to pick up something to take home I did not violate the intent of our little project.
And now for our recent dining experiences on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where we spent four days recently. Our first night’s dinner was at McElroy’s Beachside. The food was good and the service was exceptional. What we enjoyed most, however, was sitting outside on the balcony at sunset. The setting is all Gulf Coast, i.e. on the harbor where the boats go back and forth and the seagulls slowly soar by hoping to get a snack. (NOTE: don’t feed them.) I have no raves on the food. It is just good seafood, but nothing spectacular. I’ve been there before, and to their location on the Back Bay in Ocean Springs. Check out the reviews on Urbanspoon.com for more info.
Our second dinner was at the iconic Mary Mahoney’s in Biloxi. It was established in 1964, but is housed in a building that was constructed in the 1700’s. There are several private dining rooms, a bar and a courtyard shaded by a beautiful live oak tree. Everything on the menu is good. Before your meal, expect a tableside visit from the ever-smiling Bobby Mahoney, who will tell you about the daily specials and tell a few jokes. It’s a landmark.
Steve’s Marina Restaurant in Long Beach was the venue for our third dinner. It is another harbor restaurant with floor-to-ceiling plate glass on three walls and a balcony. Built on piers, the restaurant is upstairs and the downstairs is a breezy, open space used for private parties. My broiled seafood platter was excellent, as was the service.
By the fourth evening we were ready for something other than seafood. While taking a late afternoon break at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville a friend suggested we have some local BBQ at The Shed in Ocean Springs. It’s located just north of the I-10/Hwy 57 exit. Expect a true Mississippi BBQ and Blues joint. Imagine dining outside under a metal roof, and surrounded by a junkyard. It is one funky place. I walked to the counter – no table service – and ordered a pulled pork plate only to be informed that they were out that day. I settled on the beef brisket, which turned out to be – yes, I’ll say it with apologies to my Texas friends – the best beef brisket I’ve ever tasted. The beverage of choice was a cold Abita Strawberry beer. Sitting there at an outdoor counter overlooking a bayou, savoring a pink/orange sky at dusk and a rising moon through the pine trees while listening to Grayson Capps on the speakers was truly an authentic local dining experience. Live music acts coming up soon include T-Bone Pruitt, Kipori “Baby Wolf” Woods and the Gary Burnside Band.
Most breakfast and lunch meals were at the convention we were attending, however one day my colleague just had to have a po-boy so at lunch we zipped to Lil Ray’s in Gulfport. It’s one of those places where the locals go. They use only fresh LOCAL seafood, and their french bread is delivered daily from New Orleans. Their motto is “Stop by and Put a lil South in ya mouth!”
Until next time.
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