White Pillars set to reopen in Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

White Pillars set to reopen in Biloxi

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An iconic coast restaurant is making a comeback. White Pillars will soon reopen its doors in Biloxi with a seasoned chef at the helm.  (Photo source: WLOX) An iconic coast restaurant is making a comeback. White Pillars will soon reopen its doors in Biloxi with a seasoned chef at the helm.  (Photo source: WLOX)
The location's history actually dates back to 1905, when it was known as Gunston Hall, the home of Dr. Hyman Folkes and his family. (Photo source: WLOX) The location's history actually dates back to 1905, when it was known as Gunston Hall, the home of Dr. Hyman Folkes and his family. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

A Biloxi landmark restaurant is returning. After closing nearly 30-years ago, a deal was finalized this week to reopen the White Pillars.

The classic style home was built in 1905 and from 1969 to 1989 the building was home to the White Pillars Restaurant. 

"It was just a great place," said Deborah Holstein, who grew up working in the restaurant her parents operated.

For 20 years, White Pillars was owned and operated by the Mladinich Family. After its closing, the building fell into disrepair and practically disappeared behind overgrown brush and a gas station turned pawn shop operating at the foot of the Highway 90 property. 

All that was wiped away by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Biloxians were reminded of the Neo-Classical structure that had been hiding in plain sight. 

By 2008, Holstein's father, John Mladinich, announced plans to renovate the property and bring the landmark back to its former glory. The revival was a labor of love he oversaw up until just before his death in 2013. After that, Deborah and her husband, Brooks Holstein, continued the effort. 

"It's a national landmark and we're just very thankful that we were able to save the White Pillars," Holstein said.  

Now seasoned Chef Austin Sumrall is coming on board. He just signed a 20-year lease-to-own agreement with the Mladinich family to re-open the Pillars Restaurant in a place where he sees all the incidents to make his dreams come true. 

"The building itself is gorgeous, the history is palpable and the local seafood is literally across the street," Sumrall said. 

Sumrall is the former the Chef de Cuisine at the highly acclaimed Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham. At White Pillars, he plans to offer a farm to table flexible menu. 

"Our plan is to take Southern ingredients and create a worldly cuisine from that," Sumrall said. "It's a new generation, we have new viewpoints and it should reflect how people are feeling and thinking now."

Sumrall's wife and business partner, Tresse, said they hope to be open by late November.

"It's a very optimistic goal, but we want to be open before the holidays," Tresse Sumrall said.

Tresse told WLOX News Now there's about four to five months worth of construction and finishing work to be done before opening. 

SLIDESHOW: Look inside the renovated White Pillars building

"What it needs is flooring, wall finishings, furniture and a kitchen. It's a dirt floor in the kitchen right now," Sumrall said. 

The kitchen was purposely left unfinished so whoever came in would have a "blank slate" to build out as they choose. 

 

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