New meat and seafood market is one of ‘opportunities’ for Genin and The Blind Tiger
Ten years after he opened The Blind Tiger in Bay St. Louis, Coast entrepreneur Thomas Genin is adding more restaurants and businesses to his many enterprises.
TBT Butcher Shop and Seafood Market opens Saturday in what was The BBQ Depot on Blaize Avenue in the Depot District in Bay St. Louis. It will support the expansion of The Blind Tiger restaurants and provide a needed business in the city, he said.
“This area has been lacking a meat market since Hurricane Katrina,” Genin said. “CJ’s has been gone for a long time and we’re going to finally fill that void.”
Genin, who has opened a variety of businesses across the Gulf South, calls the expansion plans “opportunities” for he and TBT operating partner Scott Sutherland.
He recently sold his Marina Cantina restaurant in Ocean Springs and Gulfport, something Genin says is a “100% strategic move that has allowed for us to get back into expansion of The Blind Tiger brand.”
In addition to his location in downtown Bay St. Louis, he has a recently-expanded TBT restaurant on the Biloxi beach. TBT also is open in Slidell and Madisonville, Louisiana, and Genin says crews are working to open the new TBT restaurant and marina at the pier at Fairhope, Alabama, around Memorial Day.
“We’re in the middle of renovations,” he said.
He’s also close to announcing a location of TBT in the Jackson area, he said, with a restaurant on the water and a butcher shop within 5 miles.
Business is booming. “With Biloxi and Bay St. Louis we’re off to the best spring we’ve ever had,” he said, and Saturday in Bay St. Louis was as busy as any Saturday in summer.
Butcher shop is off Main Street
His waterfront restaurants and developments sit on the most expensive property on the Coast and must be elevated, which Genin says adds to his and his customers’ costs. For his expansion, he’s begun looking at opportunities on rivers, lakes and reservoirs, he said, and locating the butcher shops away from the waterfront.
The new shop at Bay St. Louis is in the Depot District, still a trendy area of the city, and about to become even more popular when Amtrak trains begin to pull into the station.
The store will sell to customers and also supply wholesale accounts for area businesses — and will be open on Sundays for impromptu picnics and parties.
Customers will be able to dine-in outside at a picnic table and enjoy one of their famous smash burgers, made with a mix of all of the shop’s prime meats. Or they can get a two-pound package of meat to take home and grill themselves, he said. The shop will have smoked pork and brisket sandwiches, shrimp salad and boiled seafood, along with sides of loaded mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.
For something different, the shop will provide veal, hand-cut steaks, Japanese A5 beef, buffalo, duck, quail, venison and wild boar, along with lobsters, oysters, crab legs and fish.
The Blind Tiger’s popular tuna dip will be packaged and ready to go, along with TBT’s gumbo by the quart or gallon, and their own brand of sauces, spices, etouffee and boudin balls.
Locally-owned butcher shops are the hot thing in the food industry, Genin said — “Everybody wants one of these in their town.”
TBT butcher shop in a small building in Pass Christian is 100% maxed out, he said, and moving some of the operations to the new shop in the Bay will help free up space.
Genin’s also about to start building out his plan for the tip of Henderson Point, creating a marina and pier for fishing charters, sunset cruises and possibly parasailing. Phase II of the two-acre site will be a restaurant, he said, the first on Henderson Point since Hurricane Katrina.
“We should have a development permit this week,” he said, and Genin says he’s being more strategic with his original design as other opportunities come into play.