Post-Katrina Frustrations Close The Bay City Grill - - The News for South Mississippi

Post-Katrina Frustrations Close The Bay City Grill

A well known Bay St. Louis restaurant has closed. The Bay City Grill had been a fixture in town for more than ten years.

Owner Steve D'Angelo says Hurricane Katrina did more than just physical damage to his restaurant . Now, nearly a year later, Bay City Grill has become one of Katrina's latest casualties.

"It almost seems like another tragedy on top of everything else to close the doors forever," D'Angelo said.

D'Angelo spent Monday morning putting up the chairs for the last time in his Bay St. Louis restaurant. He spent six years running the Bay City Grill, serving up gourmet dishes, steak and seafood.

"We were able to have a large client base from New Orleans to Ocean Springs and beyond, those were all weekly customers. It was like cooking for a huge family."

D'Angelo nurtured the Bay City Grill into one of the most popular restaurants on the coast. Then Katrina blew the Bay apart.

"Some of the reasons we couldn't keep the place open, it's the ripple effect of what's going on after this hurricane. The cost of electricity, the cost of water and gas, the cost of labor."

Like many businesses, it's been tough for D'Angelo to find and keep employees. Workers demand higher salaries post-Katrina. D'Angelo had to pay dishwashers $10 an hour.

"It's hard for a restaurant to absorb those types of costs. The water and gas has almost tripled from what we use to pay before the hurricane. We're into the thousands now for a month of operation - $1200 last month just for the gas and water bill. We used to look at a $300 gas bill has now tripled."

With the bills higher than the revenues, Chef D'Angelo says he just doesn't have a choice. He hopes someone else with more resources might be interested in carrying on the Bay City Grill tradition. D'Angelo would even be willing to sell his business name and some of his 80 plus signature recipes to keep part of his dream alive.

"Keep this memory a part of Bay St. Louis. I know there are a lot of people who want to see the place continue to operate."

D'Angelo says even Katrina can't wipe away his love for this place and the friends he's made. And maybe someday he'll come back.

"I'm going to miss the area. I'm going to miss this restaurant, no doubt about it."

As for Chef D'Angelo, he plans to return to work for the world famous chef he trained under, Emeril Lagasse, at one of his New Orleans Restaurants. You can contact D'Angelo at (228) 216-8689.

by Al Showers

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