GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The third Shaggy's restaurant on the coast is set to open on the north side of Hwy. 90 near downtown Gulfport. Founder and owner Ron Ladner said location and capitalizing on activity in this area of Gulfport are the restaurant's greatest assets.
"We've always liked this area. It's the second largest city in the state. We have the aquarium coming and plenty of traffic count here. There's really nothing like this in the city," said Ladner.
Fifty employees are being trained by the Shaggy's management team with a soft opening on the menu for Friday at 11 a.m. As for atmosphere and cuisine?
"Coastal, casual, family style. All of our locations are open air. It fits in with our location here," Ladner said.
As people have watched Shaggy's go up over the past few months, a lot of folks have wondered about the southern-most decks proximity to the highway. It overlooks the scenic highway.
The owners say the restaurant follows Gulfport code and every precaution has been taken to embrace public safety.
"Our customers want to be as close to the water as they can be. We asked the city how far can we go out? This is the answer they gave us. We're within all the zoning and regulations. We built an MDOT approved barrier to prevent any cars from running into our building. We did that on our own," according to Ladner.
People have also been asking the question, does Shaggy's have enough parking to accommodate the anticipated demand?
"We started with 38 parking spaces, and we're in the process of buying adjacent property that will give us an additional 40 spaces. We'll have plenty of parking," Ladner said.
An official grand opening is being planned for next week.