A touch of New Orleans charm came to downtown Biloxi when Café 871 debuted in March. Owner Tina Johnson picked a location on the rapidly developing Howard Avenue after seeing its brick patio, which reminded her of many dining spots on Bourbon Street.
Wanting to bring the distinct taste of New Orleans to both visitors and locals alike, she teamed with head chef Joshua Muller to realize her vision. Hailing from Pennsylvania originally, Muller’s culinary journey led him through various states before reaching Biloxi, each stop enriching his passion for crafting dishes from scratch. His extensive travels and diverse experiences are at the core of Café 871’s commitment to delivering exceptional cuisine and service.
“Café 871 offers a fine-dining experience while in a relaxed atmosphere, with a menu that highlights fresh ingredients made to order,” Muller says. “We take pride in creating an experience like no other, from the comfort of dining in the restaurant to creating food that will make you want to come back and try everything we offer.”
My girlfriend, Lauryn, and I recently had the pleasure of experiencing this firsthand. As avid fans of New Orleans cuisine, we were eager to see if Café 871 could meet our high expectations.
We began our culinary journey with the wedge salad, a refreshing starter that combined crisp iceberg lettuce, tomato, onion frizzles and bacon bits, topped with a fantastic smokey blue cheese dressing. Accompanied by a steaming bowl of house-made gumbo, infused with tender chicken and andouille sausage served over fluffy white rice, this was a lovely introduction to the flavors of Café 871.
“We want to provide our guests with something they have never tasted before,” Muller says. “Our specials change by what is in season week by week, and each dish is prepared individually to order, never frozen. Even our desserts are made to order.”
We next moved on to the tasty barbecue shrimp crostini. Sautéed shrimp, bathed in Chef Muller’s secret NOLA-style BBQ sauce, were perched atop a toasted French baguette. The combination of flavors and that special sauce beautifully showcased the distinctive essence of New Orleans cuisine.
For our main courses, we indulged in two dishes that truly capture Café 871’s commitment to exceptional cuisine. The chicken and waffles, a Southern classic with a twist, featured flawlessly seasoned fried chicken breast served atop a fluffy Belgium waffle. What truly set this dish apart was the house-made pecan praline sauce, crispy bacon and powdered sugar waffle dust, which took the deliciousness to another level.
The eggplant parmesan was a delightful entree featuring panko-breaded and fried eggplant, generously topped with parmesan cheese and a lively roasted red pepper sauce, all resting on a bed of corn maque choux. It created a harmonious blend of flavors that worked together beautifully. I already am making plans to return and order it again.
Before leaving, we couldn’t resist one of Café 871’s desserts. The homemade peach cobbler with brown butter crumble and a side of creamy vanilla ice cream provided the perfect ending to our meal. Warm, fragrant and bursting with peachy goodness, this sweet indulgence proved the perfect end to our highly satisfying meal.
“Our menu offers a fresh take on local favorites while keeping to the creole and Cajun traditions,” Muller says. “It will be an experience like no other, where you will feel like you are walking into a family dinner with a meal that will comfort not only your stomach, but your soul.”
Café 871 is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11-2 p.m. for lunch, Friday and Saturday from 4-9 p.m. for dinner and Sunday from 10-2 p.m. for brunch. Feel free to bring your favorite wine and spirits for a $10 cork fee. Reservations are highly encouraged through Open Table or by calling ahead, and don’t forget to check the restaurant’s Facebook page for a lineup of live music performers.
IF YOU GO
871 Howard Ave., Biloxi, MS