Breakfast at McElroy’s in Ocean Springs MS


McElroy’s Seafood used to be called McElroy’s Harbor House, but that was back when the restaurant was in Biloxi, right by the Small Craft Harbor on the mainland across from Deer Island. It had a great reputation for seafood then, but hurricanes have not been kind to the venerable old restaurant, and when Hurricane Katrina destroyed the building, the restaurant relocated across the rebuilt bridge to the arts community of Ocean Springs. In many ways, the move was for the best, because the new location, very near the site of the original French settlement of Biloxi, backs up to Indian Bayou, with lovely water views through the big picture windows. I’m reliably told the seafood is as good as ever, but the surprise here is breakfast. Amazing breakfast, I might add. Nothing too unusual, pretty much the standard omelettes, bacon and eggs, yet delicious, accompanied by the water views mentioned above, and also with one unique coastal addition to the menu, New Orleans-style beignets, which are hard to resist, even after an omelette. And now McElroy’s has reopened in Biloxi at their former location, high off the ground in case of another hurricane. Either location is worth checking out for lunch, dinner or even breakfast.

McElroy’s Seafood
705 Bienville Blvd
Ocean Springs, MS 39564
(228) 818-4600
https://www.facebook.com/pages/McElroys-Seafood/178850282150261

The Ole Biloxi Schooner is a great place to get a shrimp po-boy in downtown Biloxi, 7/6/12

The Ole Biloxi Schooner is a great place to get a shrimp po-boy in downtown Biloxi, 7/6/12

My cousin Reilly Morse is an attorney and the policy director for the Mississippi Center for Justice in Biloxi, MS. He and the other attorneys and interns at the center are doing the good work of fighting for people affected by Katrina or the Gulf oil disaster. 

My cousin Reilly Morse is an attorney and the policy director for the Mississippi Center for Justice in Biloxi, MS. He and the other attorneys and interns at the center are doing the good work of fighting for people affected by Katrina or the Gulf oil disaster. 

9/4/09: To the Beach in Gulfport


I had agreed to drive my mother down to Gulfport, Mississippi for her high-school reunion, so we stopped by a Starbucks in Memphis for a pick-up breakfast, and then we headed down I-55, breaking for lunch in Jackson, Mississippi at Majestic Burger. In Gulfport, I had reserved a room for us in the Holiday Inn, which turned out not to be the old hotel I remembered on Highway 49, but a new one around the corner which had just opened in November and was beautiful. Our room was luxurious and comfortable. The party for my mother’s class was at a house on the Tchouticabouffa River north of Biloxi, so I drove her out there, and met a number of her friends from school. The event was held underneath the new house, which had been built since Katrina, on a patio that backed up to the bayou and boat slips. Afterwards, I had hoped to get beignets, but the Mary Mahoney’s LaCafe that used to stay open for 24 hours and which offered them had not been rebuilt since Katrina, so instead we drove across the new Highway 90 bridge, which was lit up in blue neon, across to Ocean Springs and then back to Gulfport along the beach. In most of these areas, there is almost nothing left of the houses and businesses that once stood across from the beaches. A few buildings survived, and new condominiums and motels have gone up, but the rebuilding process is slow, seemingly much slower than New Orleans, perhaps hindered by the bad economy and less familiarity. Biloxi just doesn’t draw the tourists that New Orleans does, even with the casinos.

7/8/09: Mobile to Gulfport Along Highway 90


After checking out of the hotel, I drove to Dick Russell’s Bar-B-Que in Tillman’s Corner for breakfast, then headed west out I-10 to Escatawpa.
In Moss Point, I stopped by Misty’s Urban Apparel, and then by Byrd’s Music, where Mr. Byrd told me that he had had to add a deli to his music store to stay open, and that if it weren’t for the food he was selling, he probably would have had to close. I then drove over to a new record store on Chicot in Pascagoula called Rebel Muzik, and spent some time with the owners there, putting up some of my posters and talking with them about their projects. I suggested that somebody needs to make a movie about Pascagoula and Moss Point in the early 90’s during the Carver Village era, and they told me they had been talking about doing that. But Carver Village was gone, I learned, as I drove down Mobile Avenue. All of the projects have been torn down since Hurricane Katrina and replaced with housing for the elderly.
Ocean Springs seemed prettier that it used to be, and the old Biloxi restaurant McElroy’s Harbor House had relocated to a nice waterfront setting at the approach to the Biloxi bridge. Biloxi is beginning to look like Atlantic City these days, with a new Margaritaville casino under construction almost next door to the Hard Rock Casino, but as I headed westward past Edgewater Mall, the weather turned grey and threatening.
By the time I got to Lil Ray’s Po-Boys on Courthouse Road in Gulfport, the rains came with a fury, and I got drenched to the bone. But a Lil Ray’s shrimp po-boy and Barq’s root beer brought comfort and memories, and the food was every bit as good as it had been in my childhood. Gulfport’s hip-hop store Da Shop on 34th wasn’t open, and neither was Fox Hollow Coffee (it was out of business), so I drove downtown to PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans on 13th, where I grabbed a latte before starting the long drive back to Memphis.