The kitchen at Bodega's at 111 Court Street opens Thursday (March 15): Popular chef Rickey Peters and visionary entrepreneur Kevin Jordan have teamed up for the new Bay St. Louis venture. Check out the new menu!
- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
Gumbo Ya-ya, Shrimp Remoulade, the Cochon de Lait, Meatloaf and Chicken/Boudin sandwiches are just a few of the crowd-pleasers that have made a comeback. Banana Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce makes a reappearance as a grand finale.
New on the menu are dollar tacos, cheeseburger sliders, French pizza bread and shrimp salad rolls. Soon to come, according to Jordan, are daily specials and some entrée plates.
Peters, who began his chef's career working with Paul Prudhomme, has more than two decades of experience pleasing local diners. His first restaurant was a namesake – Rickey’s in Waveland. The popular eatery attracted foodies from the entire region and won the hearts of locals. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed the business, it reincarnated for several years on Highway 90 in Bay St. Louis.
When entrepreneur Kevin Jordan invited Rickey to open up at a renovated barber shop across from the depot in 2015, Rickey’s Off the Tracks instantly became one of the town’s liveliest lunch spots.
Jordan had plans to offer an outdoor kitchen and evening dining at the depot location, yet a hitch in logistics put an end to the restaurant. It turned out that his initial measurements were slightly off – the restaurant was 20 feet too close to a school building to obtain a liquor license.
“It’s hard to have a dinner spot here on the coast without being able to serve adult beverages,” said Jordan, noting that Bodega’s Court Street location doesn’t have that issue.
The outdoor BBQ and eating area that never materialized in the Depot district is already taking shape at Bodega. Out back, a deep French Quarter style balcony is being added to the building and will offer a covered area for dining below. Inside, the 1,000 square foot bar and dining area is adjacent to the kitchen where Rickey will be serving up his specials.
The Court Street building, former headquarters for both the city and the Hancock Chamber, also is home to a liquor store, a rental business and a yoga studio upstairs.
Jordan notes that Bodega rents about any mode of transportation needed in Bay St. Louis, including golf carts, bicycles, kayaks and paddleboards. Since it’s only a stone’s throw from the harbor, that’s especially convenient for visiting boaters.
The liquor store features a large assortment of wines (Jordan, who also owns a small vineyard in California, oversees the selection) and liquors. They’re able to sell both retail and wholesale, so can provide alcohol for downtown bars and restaurants as well. Jordan says that the store also keeps a wish-list.
“If we don’t have what they want, we’ll order it,” he said.
The Loft Yoga studio offers classes that range from beginner level to advanced. Classes may be purchased individually, as well as in packs of five or ten.
George Mills performs at Bodega each Saturday from 7pm – 10pm (on Second Saturdays, he starts at 6pm). As the weather warms, Friday night performances will be added as well.
Look for the soft opening of Bodega’s kitchen in ten days to two weeks. The chef is counting the hours.
“I’m ready to start today,” Rickey said.