The Town's Living Room: Mockingbird Café
Looking for the heartbeat of the real Bay St. Louis? For twelve years, this family-friendly coffeeshop/restaurant/live music venue/community center has served up great food and good times and wonderful memories.
- story by Lisa Monti
Owner Alicein W. Schwabacher, who founded the Mockingbird with her former husband, Martin Chambers, says the ‘Bird’s philosophy is simple: “We always try to be gracious hosts to the community.”
She and the dedicated Mockingbird team led by longtime managers Laura Hurt and Whitney LaFrance have succeeded in making everyone feel welcome, well fed and entertained.
Schwabacher says, “Our Mockingbird team gets it—we are all ambassadors of Bay St. Louis.” She adds that the Bird’s success is also due to her supportive partner Rebekah and her tireless work.
So it’s no surprise that fans range in age and interest. Students from nearby schools come in search of an afternoon treat. Runners and bike riders meet up post-workout for a cold beer and a bit. Families and friends file in for a lively weekend brunch gathering.
Special event nights also draw big crowds, spilling outside and on to sidewalks for Second Saturday and the seasonal Mr. Atticus Night Market, coordinated by Aryana Ivey, on the last Friday of the month.
The calendar includes game night sponsored by the Bay St. Louis Library and an open mic night for poets and musicians. “We have music from all over the world,” Alicein said. “A group of Italian bluegrass singers are coming back again for the fifth year.”
To keep things fresh and interesting, the ‘Bird remains a work in progress. The hugely popular brunch service was added a couple of years ago and it’s been a runaway hit thanks to a talented and creative kitchen crew led by Robin Hayes.
“Our customers love our pulled pork and grits,” Alicein said of a brunch favorite, along with chicken and waffles, homemade granola and eggs any which way you choose. And the biscuits and jam are made in house every morning. “We’ve got it down to a science. It’s so great.”
The signature Mockingburger shines on the lunch menu, along with
the Summer Garden Burger, sandwiches, salads and the Frittata of the Bay.
Of course, coffees and teas are the bedrock of the ‘Bird, and they’re made fresh all day. The large blackboard menu lists cafe au lait, hot chocolate and chai latte among the hot beverages. Espresso comes in seven varieties, and cold choices include mango ice tea and mocha. A seasonal pumpkin spice latte is made from house-roasted pumpkin mix.
Some recent refinements include an expansion behind the bar area to make the friendly service even more efficient. The ‘Bird also recently added libations - craft cocktails and wine - to its offerings. Brunch options include a flight of mimosas - the classic strawberry and watermelon - and the appropriately named Tequila Mockingbird plus dynamite Bloody Marys.
And to make your day run a bit more smoothly, customers now can order coffee, tea and cold drinks online so it’s ready for pickup when you get to the counter.
110 South Second Street
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
Order coffee drinks online
Monday-Saturday 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Open later for special events
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