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McElroy’s Harbor House, a Biloxi Staple

Photo courtesy of McElroy's Harbor House.

The restaurant scene in Biloxi sure has changed over the years. How I miss the old places like the Schooner, Baricev’s, and Rossetti’s. Do you remember the Van Cleve special that was invented at Rossetti’s, a po-boy made with a crab cake and cheese? What about the seafood platter at Baricev’s or the shrimp po-boy from the Schooner? There was a certain feel to those old places, certainly nothing pretentious, but you knew you were in a local joint, and were rubbing shoulders with fisherman, shipbuilders, especially if you heard the accent that used to be so common here, a hint of New York and a little New Orleans mixed in.

Thank goodness there is still at least one of the old school places left, and that’s McElroy’s Harbor House in Biloxi. The original McElroy’s was lost to us in Katrina, rebuilt in Ocean Springs and finally returned to the original Biloxi location. It’s still a great place to sit and watch the boat traffic moving down the Biloxi channel and checking out the luggers and trawlers, some of the older ones made of wood, in the harbor. And it’s also still a great a place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

When I first moved to the Gulf Coast, McElroy’s was my go-to Sunday brunch place with a good bloody Mary and a shrimp and cheese omelet that was simple but delicious. The menu was good, solid blue color fare, the type of food that Point Cadet, the tip of the Biloxi peninsula where the seafood industry was centered, was famous for. 

Menu classics still include the Fisherman’s Platter, with shrimp, fish scallops, oyster and crab dressing or the Harbor Special, a classic old school Coast combination of a snapper filet, topped with Cajun cream sauce and sautéed lump crab. The Crabcake Biloxi is another favorite, served with sautéed crawfish tails, shrimp and a cream sauce was so popular on the Coast in the old days, every restaurant had a version.

There are also six sandwiches to choose from, like the classic burger, shrimp, roast beef, or fish po-boy. Classic lunch specials include, pork chops, hamburger steak, country fried steak and filet of fish, fried, blackened, broiled, or grilled.

McElroy’s also has a decent bar, and still serve a damn good bloody Mary. It remains a great place to sit and watch the world go by, with the channel to the south and busy highway 90 to the north. It’s a very nostalgic place, and you can almost see the schooners of old sail gracefully by. If you’re lucky you just might see one of the seafood museums reproduction Biloxi schooner sail by, and doubly so if you see an old cat boat under sail. 

Old Biloxi may be mostly gone by, but McElroy’s is still there with good food and great views.

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Written by Julian Brunt

Julian Brunt is a food and travel writer that has been writing about the food culture of the Deep South for over a decade. He is the eleventh generation of his family to live in the South, grew up in Europe, traveled extensively for the first fifteen years after graduating from the University of Maryland, University College, Heidelberg, Germany. Today, he's a contributor for multiple publications, including Our Mississippi Home. He's also appeared on Gordon Ramsay's television show, "To Hell and Back in 24 Hours."

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