Celebrity chef to run restaurant in Biloxi

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A celebrity chef with Southern roots will help the Grand Biloxi Casino in its transformation into Harrah's Gulf Coast. Chef Kelly English, who owns two restaurants in Memphis, is partnering with the casino to open Magnolia House restaurant in Biloxi. The media was invited in for a sneak peak.

Casino officials said the Harrah's signs should go up sometime in June. Before that happens, a lot of work must be done including the launch of the Magnolia House Restaurant. English said the Magnolia House will be fine dining with a homey feel.

Grilled, raw or in a salad, oysters will have a place on the menu at Magnolia House. English said it's important the Biloxi restaurant captures the local flavor.

"We're going to be a restaurant that evolves. It's not going to be the same thing every time you come," said English. "We're going to change the menu three or four times a year. Look at what we can get now and what people should be eating now on both the sea and the vegetable side. We went around and met all kinds of purveyors over the last few days from small farmers to bakeries to seafood houses, and the products down here are incredible."

Construction crews will renovate a space inside the Grand Biloxi to give up to 120 guests the feel of being inside an old Southern home.

Kennedy Smith is the Marketing Vice President.

"Magnolia House by Kelly English will be one of our key features and amenities that will not only attract our gamers to our building, but also folks who are interested in a fantastic dining experience that might not have otherwise visited a casino."

Magnolia House is part of a larger transformation to get the property ready to carry the Harrah's name.

"We're really looking forward to transitioning from Grand Biloxi to Harrah's Gulf Coast," said Smith. "When you think about the scope of the work that we're doing, from the demolition of the construction platform, to the creation of an entertainment lawn, to the renovation of the casino."

"We really looked at the opportunity to take a strong brand like Harrah's, that's under the Caesar's umbrella, and place it on our building and attract even more business not only for our casino but for our area," said Smith.

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