New York Without The Attitude
The Sal & Mookie’s Story
Sal & Mookie’s brought New York style to Mississippi in a big way when we opened in 2007. With authentic New York pizzas and a full Little-Italy themed menu— plus an ice cream shop right in the heart of the restaurant— it was a style and an experience the area hadn’t seen before. Combining Dan Blumenthal and Jeff Good's commitment to high-quality family dining and desire to give back to the community, Sal & Mookie's rocked Jackson. Only a month after opening, Mississippi Magazine named Sal & Mookie’s its “Best New Restaurant.” And as anyone who has seen all the awards on our wall knows, our reputation for excellence is still going strong!
“I love pizza,” says Chef and Co-Owner Dan Blumenthal, “always have! And I wanted to bring real New York style pizza to Mississippi. The huge pies, authentic toppings, the brick-lined ovens, flavorful crust… all of it! So collaborating with my corporate chef, Jon Pixler and I worked on a dough recipe and red sauce until we felt we got it right. It took the better part of a year.” To round out our research, Dan, Jeff, and the team flew to New York for a pizza-eating marathon. They visited a dozen famous New York pizzerias and ate more pizza than they care to discuss. What they found? Chef Dan continues, “What we had created in Mississippi from memory and research was true to the originals we were eating. We were ready to go!”
All of the pies on our expansive menu are named after New York landmarks and people: the Central Park, Empire State, Freedom Tower, Meat Packing District, 4-Train, and the Gambino to name but a few! “Our pizzas are like no others you have ever tried,” states Jon Pixler, Chef and Head Pizzaiolo. “All of our toppings and ingredients are either hand made from scratch, or are the absolute best quality we can buy… The best ingredients yield the best food!”
We’re not a one-trick pony though. In addition to fantastic pizzas, we offer gourmet paninis and hot subs, classic Little-Italy style pastas and appetizers including award-winning wings, and out-of-this-world flame-grilled burgers like the Bobby Flay, Statue of Liberty, and the Turkey Lurkey.
And to delight the inner-child in everyone, when it comes time for dessert, we have an entire ice cream parlor smack dab in the middle of the restaurant where we make an almost endless variety of splits, shakes, malts, floats, and scoops! Can’t make up your mind which flavor you want? We offer free samples and you can always get an extra scoop—we won’t judge. Stick around to see how your treat is made and pick out your toppings!
Obviously, with ice cream, Mookie’s Mocktails, Wikki Stix to play with (ask to have your creation put on the wall!), and pizza, Sal & Mookie’s is a kid’s paradise. But we don’t forget adults! “When Dan and I dreamed this up, we wanted to provide a place where parents would love to take their kids,” shares Jeff. “But too often, family-oriented restaurants serve mediocre food, or give sub-standard service, or are just ‘too kiddy’ for adults to really enjoy. At Sal & Mookie’s, our food is top quality and the experience great for everyone. We offer local and regional craft beers, a fully stocked bar, and custom cocktails like the Bada Bing and the Mookarita. I’ve never seen adults so happy to be out with their kids!” Our commitment to families shows. Since opening in 2007, Sal & Mookie’s has been consistently named the best restaurant for families by Mississippi Magazine and Parents & Kids.
How We Rock
We use on top-quality ingredients! All of our pizzas are hand-crafted starting with home-made, hand-tossed dough made with only King Arthur flour, Kosher salt, filtered water, Fleischmann’s yeast and Italian extra virgin olive oil. No stabilizers or artificial ingredients go near our mixer. Our pies are topped with the finest whole milk mozzarella cheese and Italian imported plum tomatoes. We selected other toppings for their scrumptious taste and unrivaled quality. Last, but not least, we bake each pie in brick-lined, gas-fired deck ovens the old-fashioned way. This is not chain pizza! Take a peak at the process yourself through our viewing window. Our pizzaiolos love showing off their pizza tossing skills!
Each of our team members is empowered to make your experience the best. Our mottos are “Do the right thing” and “Make it right” and these play out in many ways, from ensuring that all of our guests are having a great time to helping other team members. By expecting the best of ourselves and holding each other accountable we are able to deliver a quality of care and service you just don’t get many other places.
A Slice of New York on the MS Gulf Coast
Why Sal and Mookie’s – The Biloxi Story
Sal & Mookie’s is known around the Jackson area for its New York Style Pizza, Ice Cream Parlor, and indoor-outdoor dining experience. Now that experience is coming to Biloxi, thanks to Bruce and Rebecca Lacey. For this couple, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is home. Both were born and raised on the coast and are graduates of D’Iberville High School. The high school sweethearts went off to Mississippi College, where they earned Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration. They were married in 2003, and they dreamed of starting their own business.
When a Bop’s Frozen Custard location opened in their college town of Clinton, they thought that it would be the perfect starting point for their dream. In 2005, the couple used the equity from fixing up their first home, took out a loan from the bank, and were ready to open Bop’s in their hometown. When Hurricane Katrina wiped out the coast that summer, Bruce and Rebecca had to put their dream on hold. They temporarily relocated to Memphis, where Bruce took that time to get his Master’s degree. The Lacey’s moved back to the coast in 2008 and followed through on their dream by opening their own Bop’s franchise in D’Iberville.
After getting their feet wet with Bop’s, Bruce and Rebecca felt the tug to expand their food service business. They began working on a partnership with their friends, Matt and Kandi Helms, as they searched for something new and unique to bring to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The Lacey’s first dined at Sal & Mookie’s while visiting friends in the Jackson area. Their large group sat outside on the covered porch. They loved the food and service before ever setting foot inside the restaurant. The couple kept going back to Sal & Mookie’s whenever they made trips to Jackson. Bruce said, “It’s a place you can take your kids for a family night out. Dad can get a beer if he wants, and the kids can get ice cream. It is a perfect place for a family meal, a date night, or for large groups to gather.” Bruce discovered he had a mutual friend with the Jackson restaurant’s owner, so he asked his friend to inquire about Sal & Mookie’s interest in franchising. The owners were interested.
Meanwhile, and totally uncoordinated, Matt Helms sent Bruce a text picture from Jackson of the Sal & Mookie’s logo captioned, “I found our new business.” Matt, Kandi, and their children were in the state capital for a concert when they discovered Sal & Mookie’s. “We were impressed with the whole experience. The kids enjoyed ordering creative drinks called ‘mocktails’, playing with the Wiki Stix, and of course the ice cream parlor in the middle of the dining room. When your kids have a great time, then the experience is even better for the parents”, said Matt. He had no idea that Bruce had not only eaten at the restaurant, but had already asked about franchising! It seemed to be fate, so RKBM Restaurant Group LLC was formed using the first letters of each of the couples first names to form the acronym.
The group then met with Sal & Mookie’s owners, Dan Blumenthal and Jeff Good, to work out the deal. “We were already familiar with their brand of restaurants in Jackson, but we were very impressed and knew we could count on them for support in opening our restaurant on the coast.” said Bruce. As they began to look for a location, they knew they would love to be in downtown Biloxi. “We are locals, and we wanted to be a part of the revitalization of the area since it has never fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina.” Rebecca said, “We also wanted to be a part of the community, and this location is just off of the Town Green. This will allow us to be part of Cruisin’ the Coast, Mardi Gras, and all of the other great festivals on the green!” Bruce added that the stadium for Biloxi’s new Minor League Baseball team became official about six months later, with the stadium location just a few blocks from the restaurant.
Rebecca said, “We want Sal & Mookie’s to be an integral part of every Gulf Coast family’s history. Years from now, we look forward to serving the children of guests who first ate at our restaurant as children themselves. That is our vision for the future.”