One distinctive building in Old Town Bay St. Louis is home to four different businesses - each meshing to make Bodega a comfortable place for locals and visitors to town.
- story by Denise Jacobs, photos by Ellis Anderson
If that isn’t enough, the upstairs portion of the building holds a fourth business - Loft Yoga.
The social cornerstone of the operation is The Parrot Head Bar and Grill. At the helm is Rickey Peters, who began his career working with Paul Prudhomme. The chef has more than two decades of experience pleasing local diners. His first restaurant was a namesake – Rickey’s in Waveland, and then later in Bay St. Louis. The popular eatery attracted foodies from the entire region and won the hearts of locals.
A recent Sunday afternoon found Douglas Niolet, a local Parrot Head patron, enjoying a little something at the bar. Niolet said that every sandwich on the menu is delicious and he complimented Chef Ricky, saying "he makes the best food."
Niolet listed the pleasant staff and the bar deals during “important” football games,” as items that keep bringing him back.
“It’s a hard place to beat,” he said.
The same Sunday found local Liz Maio on the back porch with her goldendoodle, Bella, chatting with Chef Rickey. They were reminiscing over the original menu from Rickey’s in Waveland, and Maio is remembering Mardi Gras potatoes.
Rickey told Liz that an outdoor kitchen will be constructed next year, including a grill and a pizza oven.
“We’ve got things in the works,” he said. “It will be like an exhibition kitchen, where people can sit here at the bar and watch us cook. We hope to do burgers and fish and kebabs.”
To demonstrate the convivial nature of the bar and grill, Liz told a story. One night she came in and ordered a beer and two tacos. The waitress told her that she was out of tacos. “This guy at the bar says, ‘you can have one of mine,’” Liz said. “Then another guy says, ‘you can have one of mine too!’” Liz laughs. “So, I wound up with two tacos and a beer, anyway!”
Sharing the same Court Street frontage, Bodega Spirits & Liquor stocks more than 200 labels of wine and 250 brands of liquor. Bodega owner Kevin Jordan comes from wine country in California, where his family owns a vineyard and sells grapes to popular U.S. labels. Jordan knows his spirits and wine and stocks the store accordingly.
Upstairs, The Loft Yoga spreads out across the second floor in a light, spacious studio.Owners Christine Neese and Alyssa Dausman offer power yoga classes, as well as basic classes. Current class schedules can be found here.
If you're a visitor looking to get around town during your stay - or you want to help your out-of-town guests with the same - check out Bodega Adventure Rentals and Sales. They rent everything from bicycles to golf carts to kayaks and paddle boards.
Tourists can tool around town on the carts, or explore the local waterways with the aquatic options. If biking is your bag - or a bicycle built for two - rent one from Bodega. Visitors can take the seven-mile beach bike path to where the beach road ends at Bayou Cadet - if they have the stamina.
Then they can grab something from Rickey’s menu and hang out with the locals, maybe catch an “important” football game, maybe check out the yoga studio and make a plan for another day.
It’s all good at Bodega.