By LISA MONTI
A casual new seafood venue and a Caribbean-inspired pool area are the newest amenities at Silver Slipper Casino Hotel in Hancock County.
The Bayou Caddy Oyster Bar and the Beach Club are the latest investments that casino owner Full House Resorts has made in Silver Slipper in the last couple of years. The $20 million hotel opened in phases in 2015. Silver Slipper’s $100,000 Beach Bar and Smokehouse Cafe opened over Memorial Day weekend, the $250,000 oyster bar had a ribbon cutting this month and the $1 million Beach Club with an infinity pool, hot tub and bar opened Aug. 1 but it’s still a work in progress, casino officials say.
“When the idea to create a fourth food venue at the Silver Slipper came about, the concept of an oyster bar really made sense, because of both our beach location and because our guests have always enjoyed the seafood options we’ve become so well known for,” said John Ferrucci, Silver Slipper’s general manager.
The oyster bar, named for the bayou the casino overlooks, started attracting customers as soon as it opened. The menu features locally sourced oysters served on the half shell and chargrilled, alongside whole grilled lobsters and seafood pan roasts. The fresh Gulf oysters delivered daily are processed by Pass Christian-based Crystal Seas Seafood, which irradiates the live, in-shell oysters to kill bacteria. “It doesn’t impact the flavor or texture at all,” said Ferrucci. “We pay a little extra to have a safe product.”
Lobster rolls, another top selling item, are served New England-style with butter in a Brioche roll baked in France and warmed on the oyster bar’s grill.
The 18-seat curved bar is just inside the parking garage entrance to the casino. Chefs prepare the dishes in an exhibition-style kitchen in full view of diners. “The chefs in our restaurants have been working tirelessly to perfect the menu for this unique food venue,” Ferrucci said. “We wanted to create something that you could not find anywhere else along the Gulf Coast.”
The oyster bar, which is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., gives seafood fans a quicker, more casual option than the fine-dining dinner-only Blue Bayou restaurant. “At the oyster bar, they can be in and out in 30 minutes,” Ferrucci said.
The idea for the Caribbean themed pool area came from Full House Resorts CEO Dan Lee who wanted to model it after beach clubs he’s seen on St. Barth’s, where he vacations. He dispatched Ferrucci and a construction consultant to the island so they could see exactly what he envisioned for the property.
Lee flew to Palm Springs, Calif., and personally selected 23 Zahidi palms valued at more than $120,000 for the pool area which has decking made of South American hardwood. A canopy that resembles a sail is being custom-made and will be in place over the bar area by the end of the month.
“We didn’t skimp on anything,” Ferrucci said of the new pool area and furnishings.
He said he tells employees that the recent additions and improvements at Silver Slipper “show the confidence our parent company has in our ability to take those investments and make them work.”