The Wet N' Wild Beach Club evolved. The seed was planted 25 years ago when Biloxi native Mark Balius received a permit for beach rentals, including water toys as personal watercraft, water pedal bikes and umbrellas. |
Fourteen years ago, he moved to the southeast end of the Biloxi Strip. In addition to beach rentals, a "little beach shack" popped up, offering hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and snowballs. Then came the bar, with a little seafood on the side.
"We got so many compliments and requests for our food that we became a full-fledged restaurant with a bar instead of the other way around," said Balius. "Besides, I didn't want my boy to grow up thinking his dad owned a bar."
Jared will be 7 this weekend. He and his dad were immortalized as Coast icons when Balius commissioned a piece of art that was, truth be known, him and his son on a Jet Ski. It advertised the beach rental end of the business.
Even better known at Wet N' Wild was the giant crawfish that ogled passing cars from a rooftop perch at the foot of U.S. 90 and Rodenberg Avenue. It was made of papier-mache coated with fiberglass.
Katrina either smashed the crawfish into tiny pieces or carried it to parts unknown. The boy and man on the Jet Ski was found in three pieces, which are fixable.
Balius intends to put a new crawfish on the new roof of his new building.
"I can't answer when I'll be open again but it depends on the permits," Balius said. "When we get those, it will be about a year.
"I will build back. The money is already designated for it. The problem is the permitting with the city."
Balius said he and his architects have been working since October to get proper city permits, with one of the stumbling blocks being the proportions of parking spaces and green spaces on a small piece of land.
"I love that business. How many people get to go to work every day on the each, have a restaurant and bar that their command and all the beach rentals you could want."