The Salty Nun, a partnership between two of Gulfport’s most well-respected business owners, Barbara Banno and J.P. Brewer, is opening in the Grand Central District in March.
The lesbian duo will take over Swingers Patio Bar & Grill’s former spot at 2501 Central Ave. Located adjacent to the city’s only rainbow crosswalk, the space has been owned, operated, and frequented by the LGBTQ community for nearly two decades.
Grand Central Swingers opened at the end of 2020 in a joint venture that included two gay realtors, closing recently. Before that, the beloved Euro bar and restaurant, The Queens Head, called the location home for a number of years. The popular pub was owned by lesbian pastry chef Tracy Asalita, and became a dining and entertainment venue for the city’s LGBTQ community. Many of the city’s LGBTQ musicians have performed at this location.
The new venture will undoubtedly become a hub for socializing, although Banno and Brewer have made no claims that the new restaurant will be marketed as an LGBTQ hangout.
What To Expect
The new venture brings the best parts of the respective Gulfport businesses Banno and Brewer are already known for to Central Avenue – the breakfast favorites offered by Stella’s restaurant and the laid-back, local watering hole vibe and killer music calendar of Salty’s bar.
Banno opened Stella’s on Beach Boulevard in 2009, naming it after her Aunt Stella, a nun who served with the Dominican Congregations in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. She expanded the brand in November 2020, opening Stella’s Sundries, an eclectic shop, next to the restaurant.
Brewer owned Salty’s, which was located on Shore Boulevard, from 2013 until it closed its doors in July. She sold the bar to a new owner, and it’s now called Hurricane Eddie’s Gulfport.
She opened Salty’s Sandwich Bar around the corner from the bar in January 2021 and closed up shop in November. According to the sandwich joint’s Facebook page, it was “sold due to personal reasons.” It now has new owners, who have rebranded with a new name and hot dog concept.
According to its Facebook page, the Salty Nun will include a varietal breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, including a few of Stella’s signature items. It will also boast a full liquor bar and regular live music events.
“I am so excited for this new adventure with my friend J.P. Brewer! Look out Grand Central here we come,” Banno shared on Facebook Thursday evening.
The DOUBLEMBAND will perform at the Salty Nun on March 4 for the district’s First Friday celebration and the restaurant’s grand opening weekend.
“First weekend open,” Brewer wrote in a Facebook post Thursday night. “We will be ready for some great live music!”