Chappy, whose original seafood restaurant opened in Long Beach in 1984, said that Hurricane Katrina “completely uprooted” his life and that he’s thrilled to finally be back home in Waveland. “I’m trying to get back to my life that I love so much,” he said. Not one to look back, Chappy said, “I’m trying to move ahead with new ideas, fresh ideas.”
The Caribbean flair is found throughout the dining area and even into the ladies’ room, where leftover wood takes an artistic turn. Chappy credits his wife Starr and his sister, New Orleans artist Connie Chapman, for pulling together all the pieces and parts to give the restaurant its tropical look.
The taste, though, is what keeps customers coming back, like the starter choices to share with the table: avocado mango dip, seafood hushpuppies and Yea Mon Nachos (pulled pork, black beans, jalapeños, tomatoes, red onion, lime cream, cilantro, and tons of melted cheese).
Tacos with fish and various fillings are on menus everywhere these days but at Rum Kitchen the Off the Grid tacos come in some unique iterations. Choose beef, seafood, lamb, chicken, duck, pork, and vegetarian, all served on 4-inch corn tortillas.
The brisket has big flavors accented by BBQ sauce, cilantro, and crunchy fried shallots. Flavorful Jerk Chicken is sweetened with mango salsa. The popular Miss Queen doubles down with pulled pork, jalapeño salsa, spicy and vinegary BBQ sauce and roasted corn relish.
Tacos come in twos, threes and fours with one or two sides. Coconut mango rice is a pleasant sweet surprise, light and flavorful. The Callaloo-smothered greens got raves on two lunch outings. Also available are sweet potato fries, black beans with chorizo, grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes.
The sandwiches-and-burgers menu includes the standout ground chuck burger and the grilled mahi mahi with creole seasoning. Both drew raves recently from lunch customers.
The Me Hearty Plates offer even more innovative choices, like braised lamb in a tomato curry, grilled chicken with the restaurant’s signature sauce, red curry shrimp, ribs and a char gilled ribeye with garlic chutney.
Mahi Mahi, jerk chicken and brisket are found into the salad selections, too. For dessert, dig into the Bahama Mama bread pudding, made fresh daily, or Key lime pie, among other decadent selections. Go ahead. Pretend you’re on vacation.
Rum Kitchen is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., serving lunch and dinner. There is a full bar. Call 228-467-9099.