- - stories by Denise Jacobs, photos by Ellis Anderson and courtesy C&C Bistro
Be sure to check out "Hot Spots" C&C Bistro (111 Main Street) and The Arts, Hancock County (they'll be headquartered for the evening at the French Potager, 213 Main Street).
Over the past twenty years, the monthly artwalk has become one of the most popular events in the region. Old Town stays lively all day, with many merchants and restaurants offering specials.
The pace picks up from 4pm – 8pm, when gallery openings and live music keep the streets humming with activity.
Be sure to visit Hot Spot businesses Serious Bread Bakery (131 Main Street, Suite D) and The Porch, (inside Century Hall, 112 S. Second Street). Read more about these Old Town businesses below.
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C & C Italian Bistro
111 Main Street
Bay St. Louis
Saturday celebration on Saturday, May 12, Cork & Cleaver will provide live music by Serabee, with bar specials between 4pm and 8pm.
“Dad is retired Air Force," Chef David notes, “with no clue about the day-to-day operational part of a farm-to-table restaurant. We both do what we're good at, and it works out perfectly."
As operational manager and chef, Dickensauge handles sourcing food, planning menus, preparing food, or managing the restaurant.
“We’re not warming things up here,” the Chef notes. “No big truck pulls up to make deliveries here. I’m busy with marketing, cooking, making sure the restaurant is running, the food is perfect, and the kitchen meticulous. I design everything here, and I run it.”
And it shows. Lisa Monti, restaurant reviewer for the Shoofly Magazine, stated it perfectly in her February 2018 review of Cork & Cleaver—“Dickensauge has crafted weekly specials that might make you want to double down for lunch and then back for dinner in quick succession.”
While the menu changes eight times a year to reflect the availability of fresh foods from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, the fare is always true Italian, the pasta is always made in-house, and the pizza prepared in a special gas-fired brick oven.
Weekly specials are popular with the local crowd, a crowd that enjoys special Happy Hour deals from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., as well. Monday draws beef lovers for the $20 ribeye and/or sirloin filet, each served with black truffle ricotta salada and twice-baked potatoes.
Pasta fans enjoy the $10 Tuesday homemade signature pastas and/or a selection of artisan pizzas. Wine Down Wednesdays are becoming quite a big deal, in part because of the great selection of wines by the bottle at half price and because of the freshly shucked char-baked oysters that sell for $8 a dozen.
On major holidays, Chef David offers six-course meals with a seventh-course lagniappe.
There’s really no excuse not to try C&C Italian Bistro at least once. The weekly specials make it easy, but don’t stop there. The menu itself guarantees one of the finest dining experiences on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You'll be back.
Arts, Hancock County
Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center
101 Central Ave.
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
If not butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers, The Arts, Hancock governing board is comprised of business owners, a photographer, an architect, a teacher, potters, a writer, and professional volunteers. This diversity reflects the spirit and rapidly growing membership of a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting art in everyday life in Hancock County.
The vision spearheaded by Steve Barney, president of The Arts, Hancock County and founder of the STEAMpunk Pottery Project—an educational program for children—is to “reinvent the organization to support the entire spectrum of artists and capture the artistic buzz centered in Hancock County.”
Happy festival-goers found an abundance of live demonstrations, hands-on activities, and artist showcases/marketplaces, from musical performances to poetry readings to belly dancers. At hands-on MakerSpace stations, fest- goers practiced the art of screen printing and drum-making, and volunteers of all ages engaged in public art projects such as the one at Ruth’s Garden on Court Street.
Other participatory art experiences included on-site painting of beach-bound trash cans and the creation of a public mural.
During Arts!Alive, some members of the Old Town Merchants Association hosted artists and artisans at storefront locations throughout Old Town where some artists demonstrated their work while others were simply on hand to talk about their creative process.
Bay Life Gifts owner Janice Guido, a previous Old Town Merchants Association board member and current Arts, Hancock County board member, noted that Arts!Alive drew an upscale, art-wise, sophisticated clientele eager to buy. By all reports, local artists and the merchants who sponsored them fared well.
At the center of Arts, Hancock County is a 7,500-square-foot industrial building on the corner of Washington and Central, the Bay St. Louis Creative Arts Center (101 Central Ave.).
Since Barney purchased the dilapidated building in 2017, it has become a gathering space in an emerging art district. The building is the seat of monthly Arts, Hancock County membership meetings, the Raw Oyster Marching Club's oyster-painting central, the home of workshops from pottery to flower arranging, and even a space in which Mardi Gras floats are constructed.
The most active part of the Bay Creative Arts Center, however, is the 1,200-square-foot pottery studio, which partners with Lazy Magnolia Brewery and offers adult classes and after-school classes for children.
Having moved to Old Town, an historic district extending from Beach Boulevard to St. Francis Street and Washington Street to Ulman Avenue, Arts, Hancock County is tapping into the creative economy in Hancock County, expanding into Waveland and the Kiln, and exploring partnerships between local businesses and artists.
As of this writing, Arts, Hancock County boasts overlapping exhibits at four business and civic entities—200 North Beach, Bay St. Louis City Hall, Waveland City Hall, and the Ground Zero Museum in Waveland.
“In the early days of the organization,” Barney notes, “the goal was to help artists re-establish themselves in the aftermath of Katrina. We are circling around, going back to our roots.”
To join Arts, Hancock County, visit https://hancockarts.org/join-us. Alternatively, talk to organizational VP Ann Dinwiddie Madden, co-founder of Smith & Lens Gallery (106 S. Second Street, Bay St. Louis), or Treasurer Alicein Schwabacher, owner and manager of the Mockingbird Café (110 South Second Street, Bay St. Louis).