Welcome to Old Town Bay St. Louis!
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Our authentic character, historic buildings, and friendly folks are just a few of the reasons why Budget Travel Magazine named us one of the "Coolest Small Towns in America" in 2013. And Coastal Living Magazine named Bay St. Louis one of the top ten small beach towns in the country in 2010! Explore Old Town using the menu above - or check out quick links to individual merchants below. Come play for a day, you may want to stay!
Our December Second Saturday "Hot Spots"
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The Mockingbird Cafe
110 S. Second St.
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
Gourmet coffee, Lazy Magnolia brews, Mockingburgers, local art
The Mockingbird Café is always one of the first stops for people visiting Bay St. Louis. Usually they were commanded by some friendly local to go there. Or they may have read about the Mockingbird in Southern Living (it’s been featured there several times) or some other national publication.
Visitors can always find interesting locals willing to converse in the lively café. On any given day, you’re likely to find college students who have stumbled on the Bay during their travels, scientists who work at Stennis Space Center, day-trippers from New Orleans and beyond, kids from the nearby schools and lots of artists and writers. The mix of people is as irresistible as the food and beverages served up by smiling baristas. The Mockingbird’s affectionate nickname is “The Town’s Living Room,” and it is.
The owner is best known as Alicein Wonderland, which are her real first and middle names ("hippie parents, you know"). The fairy tale name suits her effervescent personality, which has an underpinning of steely determination. She needed it after Katrina, when as a new mother, she and her former husband opened the café in 2006 - in the midst of the carnage left by the storm.
“There was a need for a gathering place for the town to heal, a loving and hopeful spot,” Alicein says.
Alicein, who grew up in Bay St. Louis, has traveled “far and wide,” and believes this has impacted her worldview. And along the way, she’s always gathering ideas to improve the Mockingbird. Which is hardly “just” a coffeehouse. It’s also an art gallery, featuring local artistic icons like J.J. Foley and Kat Fitzpatrick. And it’s a music venue, featuring some top quality artists, as well as locals who gather for open mike nights.
“We’ve been fortunate to get bigger name performers on their way to places like the House of Blues in New Orleans. In musician circles, we’ve become known as a homey spot to perform, since our audiences are always welcoming and receptive.”
In the past year, with chef Julie Ragusa coming aboard, the kitchen is bursting with fresh ideas and the menu is leaning heavily toward farm-to-table dishes. Ragusa worked as a chef and a chocolatier in Belgium for many years, so the confections coming out of the kitchen are gourmet quality. In addition to the “world-famous Mockingburger,” fresh sandwiches and scrumptious breakfasts, look for crème brulet, Café Vienna muffins, Lemon Feta Shortbread cookies and chocolate mousse. You can order up every kind of beverage from an expresso to a locally brewed craft beer.
The town’s living room also serves as a starting point for a running club on Thursday nights, just another example of how this business has become a central part of the community
“We’re all pieces of the big puzzle, working to make our town loved and successful,” says Alicein. “Our philosophy at the Mockingbird is that kindness is the most important thing.”
Serious Bread Bakery
131 Main Street, Suite D
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
Handmade artisan breads & sweet things - scones, cookies, & muffins
At the Serious Bread Bakery, the irresistible scent of fresh-baked loaves lures people in through the classic screen door. Once inside, the new cafe area offers a menu with several new items like tabouli and hummus, as well as a selection of sweets that will have your mouth watering. Best of all, they serve samples, although be warned: the samples simply make it harder to choose.
Al Jensen is a retired oceanographer who traveled around the world during his career, sampling breads in every country he visited. Frustrated by the lack of artisan breads on the coast, this staff-of-life connoisseur later decided to solve the problem by becoming a baker himself.
Jensen pursued his new vocation “seriously.” After several workshops with a world-renowned baker in Vermont, he and his wife Vivian began selling the loaves in regional farmers markets, finding that their offerings were snapped up by a public hungry for more.
The Jensens stay busy: they opened the Serious Bread Bakery nearly three years ago, beginning with the bakery and expanding into a coffee/sandwich shop next door to feature their baked goods. The pair creates seasonal and specialty breads (including challah and Irish soda bread) - in addition to the nine different types offered regularly.
Recently, they’ve added banana-nut muffins, peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip scones. The different varieties of scones have become sought-after staples - Vivian says that they usually bake and sell over 400 each weekend. They also serve tabouli, hummus and other spreads in the cafe.
“We like our city and most of all, we enjoy our customers,” says Al “The Breadman” Jensen.
Coolest in the South!
In Budget Travel Magazine's annual contest, Bay St. Louis was chosen as one of the top three Coolest Small Towns in the country for 2013 - and we ranked above other Southern contenders by a long shot. That makes us the Coolest Small Town in the South by our way of thinking and gives us major bragging rights! So start bragging! Here's the link to the whole article. Share it with friends and business associates. To read the article in Budget Travel On-line, click here!