It’s 3:30 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon, well past the lunch rush and hours before dinner. Yet, finding a prime table Shaggy’s in Biloxi is similar to vying for the corner table at a fine dining establishment. You know you’ll have a bit of a wait, but you don’t care. Yes, the food and view overlooking the scenic beach are that good.
A large crowd of locals and tourists who enjoy good food and the theater of eating it sitting near a second-floor window or, even better, on the back deck with the wind rolling in from the water, filled Shaggy’s to near capacity during a time when most restaurants are experiencing a post-lunch lull.
Alternatively clutching my paper napkin blowing in the wind and sampling bites of crispy shrimp and my creative addition of fried green tomatoes topped with remoulade sauce piled in a crusty New Orleans-style po’boy bun made for an entertaining mid-afternoon meal on Shaggy’s picturesque deck overlooking the gulf.
Like its popular Pass Christian and Gulfport sisters, the Biloxi restaurant is a two-story waterfront building with a bright façade and eclectic yard art. The sprawling restaurant is composed of the second-floor dining area with wide windows open to the front and rear of the building and a spacious outdoor deck.
Water view aside, many people come to Shaggy’s for the food. In fact, Tory McPhail, executive chef of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, listed Shaggy’s in Biloxi as one of his favorite restaurants. Two of his must-have Shaggy’s items are peel-and-eat shrimp and char grilled oysters.
Shaggy’s menu is filled with the usual assortment of fried appetizers and seafood, but despite this fact, the food is fresh, well prepared, and served with a creative flair. If you’ve dined at any of its restaurants, you’ll agree with this statement. As an aside, I’m extremely excited about the opening later this year of a new location near the Ross Barnett Reservoir.
If you have a predisposed opinion about “bar and grill” food or anything served in a slightly gaudy, wooden restaurant, check your attitude at the bottom of the winding stairs and climb on up. As mentioned, there are two others on the Coast, but the Biloxi location is my favorite.
Shaggy’s Biloxi menu is filled with fresh seafood prepared a multitude of ways, including Eggplant St. Shaggy’s ($15.89), a decadent dish of fried eggplant topped with shrimp and crawfish, sautéed bell peppers, and a sherry cream sauce.
Other offerings include seafood pasta dishes, seafood and meat sandwiches and poboys, and the best-selling Shaggy’s Cheeseburger.
Entering Shaggy’s for a mid-afternoon lunch, I perused the appetizers and gave seafood a nod straight away. After briefly considering the crab cakes ($13.95) and Jamaican jerked shrimp ($9.95), I decided to reprise a favorite appetizer, smoked fish dip ($8.95). Digging a cracker into the dip, I discovered generous flakes of fresh smoked tuna in the same rich and creamy sauce I remembered.
Fried green tomatoes ($8.95) were selected from the appetizer menu to add to my shrimp poboy. I just had to reprise Shaggy’s former black and green po’boy, a delicious combination of blackened shrimp, fried green tomatoes, and remoulade sauce. That’s one of the things I love about Shaggy’s. The menu is always changing to add new and creative dishes to the lineup. If, like me, your favorite disappears, you can always recreate it by combining a few things from the menu.
Other appetizers worth a try are Shaggy's crab cakes ($13.95), gumbo ($8.50), and the aforementioned peel and eat shrimp ($10.99.)
Choosing my entree proved difficult because there are so many options. The specials of the day differ from regular menu items and include a fish of the day. I’m not sure if it was the daily special, but a nearby diner's order of grilled redfish topped with shrimp and a creamy Creole sauce almost made me regret my order of a fried shrimp poboy. However, I wasn't disappointed for long.
The poboy (pictured right) came with a dozen or so perfectly seasoned shrimp and my addition of crispiest, lightly breaded and best fried green tomatoes I’ve ever tasted. The flavors intermingled beautifully and were bold enough to stand on its own. Nevertheless, a light drizzle of spicy remoulade sauce contrasted nicely with the diverse, yet surprisingly perfect ingredients.
Additional sandwiches on the menu are Shaggy’s cheeseburger ($10.99), buffalo chicken melt ($10.99), crab cake sandwich ($11.99), deep-fried pig ($12.99), and “off the hook” fresh fish sandwich ($13.99).
Entrees that caught my eye and that I plan to try on my next visit are royal reds ($15.99), a veritable shrimp boil on a plate courtesy of a half-pound of boiled royal red shrimp, sausage, and potatoes; seafood pasta ($14.49), and captain’s seafood platter ($22.99) filled with shrimp, oysters, and fish served with hush puppies and fries.
There’s also fried chicken ($11.99) and an 8-ounce hangar steak ($25.99) for those who prefer something other than seafood.
Most of the entrees come with a side, but if they don't, or if you want more food, salads, sautéed vegetables, coleslaw, and several other sides are listed between $1.25 and $4.50.
After my meal, I didn’t have room for dessert, but I saw many diners enjoying thick slices of Key Lime pie ($4.99).
Kids are welcome at Shaggy’s and can choose from among smaller portions of fried shrimp or fish with fries, chicken tenders and grilled cheese.
If You Go:
Where: 1763 Beach Blvd., Biloxi
Hours: Sunday – Thursday: open 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; until midnight on Friday and Saturday
Payment: Cash, major credit cards