GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - With new restaurants opening almost weekly, 27th Avenue in Gulfport is quickly becoming a one-stop shop for food lovers. Adding to that buzz is a new bar bearing the name of a country music legend. Gilly's Honky Tonk opened last week.
"When they called me and told me what their idea was I told them I'd help them in any way that I could and I thought it was a great idea," said Mickey Gilly, who stopped by the bar Friday just before his performance at IP Casino Resort.
"I think it's incredible the way things are going here in this area," he said.
Just above Gilly's Honky Tonk is the Cork and Cleaver, a wine bar scheduled to open on October 20th. Chef and owner David Dickensauge has restaurants all over the South, but decided to start his next venture at home in Gulfport.
"I think that downtown Gulfport is trying to revitalize and the Mississippi Gulf Coast kind of takes a backseat to New Orleans after Katrina, so I'd like to be a part of seeing the Gulf Coast come back to life," said Dickensauge.
The restaurant will feature a charcuterie-style menu complete with wine pairings. Just down the street sits five-month-old Mosaic, a restaurant that's already found success in downtown Ocean Springs. An older establishment by this street's standards, General Manager Ken Conn isn't afraid of the competition new restaurants will bring.
"More restaurants, more businesses on one block is good for all of us," said Conn.
And there's even more to come. With applications for new business permits coming in daily, downtown Gulfport is becoming a hot spot for commerce on the coast. Gulfport Public Information Officer Chris Vignes told us to expect six or seven new restaurants in the area soon.
Another upcoming project includes turning the alley way behind the restaurants on 27th Avenue into an open-air, well-lit path featuring local art.
"Gulfport has really turned into a food lover's paradise. Here on 27th Avenue you have a taste for everyone, you've got barbecue, you've got Texas, you've got Cuban, you've got new-age American. It's more than just seafood," said Vignes.