The stellar space-themed breakfast and lunch spot launches in Bay St. Louis at The Pearl Hotel.
- by Lisa Monti
– photos courtesy of Randy Schmidt and Cosmos.
Luckily, that plan fell through.
To begin with, it wasn’t all that early when I pulled into a parking spot on Beach Boulevard, where a good number of people were out walking and biking.
Then, in a happy coincidence, I got to join a couple of my relatives sitting at a sidewalk table in the gorgeous October sunshine. And instead of ordering the tried-and-true bacon and egg breakfast, my appetite took a sharp turn toward an unusual dish with a surprise ingredient. More on that later.
Cosmos opened in early July in the space on the hotel’s ground previously occupied by Smoke, a barbecue restaurant owned by Chef Jeff Hansell and Amy Hansell, his wife and business partner. The couple created the attractive Thorny Oyster inside the Pearl and also Oxlot 9, an upscale restaurant in Covington that’s now closed.
The original Smoke was in Covington, and the Hansells planned a version for the Pearl Hotel ahead of what turned out to be a rush of BBQ restaurant openings in the Bay St. Louis/Waveland area. They eventually pivoted from the crowded barbecue field to a breakfast place.
“We saw the need and figured breakfast would be a good fit instead,” said Jeff Hansell, who grew up in Waveland. “All the hotel guests can walk down and get coffee and breakfast. It’s been great.”
Weekend traffic is steady, thanks to a mix of visitors and locals, Jeff said. Weekdays belong mainly to customers who come in to grab a coffee or beignets before work or school.
The offerings at Cosmos go well beyond coffee and beignets. The menu features all manner of breakfast favorites from biscuits and bacon to omelets and yogurt. Beignets, light and airy and covered with powdered sugar, also come in Tutti Frutti, Sundae and Cinnabun versions.
Four offerings of Cosmic Hash deserve your attention if you’re looking for hash browns topped with seasonal veggies, smoked pulled pork, shrimp or house sausage.
I ordered the grilled shrimp hash, with a base of crispy hash browns. It includes the surprising taste of house-made kimchi, peppery arugula and sweet and sour sauce – with fried eggs on top. Delicious and generous enough for leftovers.
Breakfast is served all day, but Cosmos also has a few “sammies” for later in the day, including crispy hot chicken, shrimp or oyster poboy and pastrami, all served with fries.
Two salads - Chopped or Farro - also are available, as is a kid’s menu. If you’re serious about coffee, you can go with hot and cold specialty choices plus frozen servings. The frozen coffee has been a huge hit, according to Jeff.
Amy Hansell gets the credit for the spacey theme at Cosmos, which is tied to nearby Stennis Space Center, where Jeff Hansell’s father works. Jeff calls the branding “fun and playful, something you don’t expect.” One sign in the restaurant reads “Astronauts eat free.”
I asked Jeff if Cosmos has served any astronauts and he laughed. “Not yet.” It could happen.
Cosmos seats about 35 diners inside and at three tables outside.
Hours are Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 3 pm.
104 Beach Boulevard, Bay Saint Louis
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