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Messina's Brings New Orleans Family Tradition to Gulf Place

January 2, 2014 by Tom McGee

The Messina family has been pleasing palates and filling bellies for more than five decades in New Orleans. The tradition of fine food and NOLA fun is about to be extended to the beaches of South Walton at Gulf Place.

Drew Messina grew up working in his parents’ Izzy and Andy Messina’s Restaurant in Kenner, Louisiana. After successful ventures of his own in the crescent city, he's bringing the family culinary treasures to our little paradise. Messina’s restaurant at Gulf Place opens on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, with an introduction of brunch and dinner, but you will have to wait until March 1 to partake of their fine lunches.

Messina’s will be occupying the space recently vacated by restaurant Fire. Guests will be able to dine in this beautiful, spacious restaurant for brunches on Saturdays and Sundays, and dinner seven days a week. Brunch will be served New Orleans style - with live Jazz every Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to bringing the family recipes, Drew will share with us his 28 years in the restaurant and hospitality business. Drew attended the University of New Orleans and worked with world famous chefs to perfect his culinary skills, after which he opened his own successful restaurant. He has also hosted cooking shows on New Orleans TV and at the Treasure Chest Casino. At the request of a friend, Drew worked for Dickie Brennan at Dickie’s Bourbon House in the French Quarter.

Each Tuesday, local artists will display and sell their works at Messina’s. Drew wishes to support our local fine arts community In this way.

Johnny Chicago, a well-known local celebrity in our Gulf Coast community, will manage the 30-foot-long mahogany bar, which will provide customers with the finest liquors, wines and beers from all over the globe. The bar will also provide Messina’s customers with the largest selection of bourbons and blue-cheese-stuffed-olive martinis to be found anywhere on Scenic 30A. Johnny will offer special treats we in Louisiana call “lagniappe” at Happy Hour, together with Messina’s famous Italian Milk Punch.

Messina’s Po’ Boys and Muffulettas will be made as they should be - using Gambino’s and Leidenheimer’s breads. Messina’s famous, homemade olive salad will adorn the Muffuletta. Other menu items will include Creole and Italian dishes and, of course, creations prepared from Florida’s fine seafoods. Messina’s much sought after Baby Veal Spendindi and newer creations such as Blue Cheese Filets, Surf and Turf, and Pan-seared Redfish over Fried Gritcake topped with Oysters Rockerfeller will be available to delight hungry customers.

A special treat offered at Messina’s will be a Chef’s Table, which must be reserved through Manager Mario McNally 72 hours in advance. For those very special occasions, the chef will prepare a special eight course dinner and provide wine and other beverages you desire for $150 to $300 per person.

In addition to having exciting, delicious food, Messina’s will be a fun place. Visitors will be able to appreciate local artists’ works. They will also be able to instantly download the Messina’s mobile app which will give them special offers and events like wine dinners, whiskey tastings and a video feed of kitchen operations and cooking demonstrations, including recipes.

So if you wish to, as we say in Louisiana,  “pass a good time” and eat fine food, drop by Messina’s homey, friendly restaurant in Gulf Place. 

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Tom McGee

Judge Tom was born in North Louisiana but his family moved to New Orleans, The City That Care Forgot, when he was nine years old. He likes to say he was born a Redneck, but raised a Creole. He has spent half his life in courtrooms as a trial lawyer, prosecutor and judge.

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