You can go home, discovered two friends from Ocean Springs when they returned to the coast and opened a fine dining restaurant in downtown Biloxi.
Throwing One Thirty One Lameuse, between Biloxi City Hall and Hard Rock Casino, is something that Ryan Bolton and Loren Gautier, both in their early thirties, have been talking about for years. They graduated together in Ocean Springs and both went to Ole Miss College.
“It’s just something we always dreamed of when we were in college,” said Bolton, who studied business.
Gautier decides to become a chef. He cooked for classmates and friends and Bolton said he jokingly told her, “I have the building and you’re the chef.”
One Thirty One opened in 2021 at 131 Lameuse Street in Biloxi, in the downtown area where new restaurants and attractions are opening and accommodations and vacation rentals are on the way.
“It ended up happening,” Bolton said.
“Him doing the front of the house and me doing the back of the house,” Gautier said.
From FL to New Orleans to Biloxi
They first separated, Bolton Florida to work in business. Gautier studied at the Culinary Institute of America Napa Valley in California and in 2018 became the new Sous Chef of SoBou and W French Quarter in New Orleans.
They met and decided to return to southern Mississippi, work together, and raise their families where they grew up. The de Gautier family owns The Old Place in Gautier. Bolton’s mother, Laura Bolton, owns the building where the restaurant is located.
It took a lot of renovations to get the “NOLA meets downtown Biloxi” look they wanted, Laura Bolton said. The drop ceiling has been removed to reveal the original tongue and groove ceiling. The 80 year old wooden floors have been restored. Balconies on either side of the restaurant overlook Lameuse Street and the parade route.
They first opened as a wedding venue and later became a restaurant that also hosts events.
Menu with a unique New Orleans twist
“We’re not going to be the typical restaurant,” said Gautier, who cooks from scratch. His dishes — and the experience of dining at One Thirty One — will always have some kind of kick or spice, he said.
Grab the Mother’s Day Jazz Brunch menu, offered this weekend. Instead of the standard Eggs Benedict, Gautier’s offering is a Benne-grit on a grain cake. Shrimp, oatmeal and other favorites are on the menu, but for something different, the Caesar salad is spiced with fried oysters and chorizo and cheddar fritters is a choice people won’t find on most menus.
The menu changes seasonally to provide a five-star fresh meal without a suit or tie, Gautier said. He wants people to feel comfortable coming in, he said.
At lunch and dinner, the menu offers a selection of small plates like crayfish pies or duck poppers, and large plates. These are also something special, like the Cajun Cubano made with pulled pork, Creole Fly Llama mustard, house-made pickles and pepperjack cheese on pressed French bread.
Gulf BBQ Shrimp is so popular with regular customers that some are asking for it with pasta.
“It’s off the menu but it was a huge hit,” Gautier said.
The dinner menu adds beer-roasted chicken, Szechuan duck and Southern stuffed quail to the selections and even sides are unexpected smothered greens or chilli macaroni and cheese.
Oenological dinners, champagne brunch, music
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. It is on the second floor, accessible by a staircase or an elevator. It also has space for private parties, with seating for around 100 indoors and 40 outdoors.
Along with the varied menu is a selection of craft cocktails like New Orleans Bourbon Smash or Blueberry Lemon Drop, as well as fine wines.
An Italian Wine Pairing Dinner in April included Banfi Wines and Champagne Dinner and a range of other planned events.
Every second Saturday of the year, Greater St. John’s Church in Biloxi brings its gospel and hymns to the monthly brunch for two shows at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Steve Johnson, one of the lead singers, said they had been performing for years, but this was the first time they had brunch.
This story was originally published May 6, 2022 9:53 a.m.