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Salty Sal’s Brings Variety and Flavor to Gulfport

The owners of Beach Boulevard’s latest addition are new to Gulfport, but not to hospitality. With more than 15 years in the industry, Shelly Gorka and Sal Diblasi are excited to be a part of the community.

Strolling on Beach Blvd, one can find satisfaction through a variety of establishments. From pizza or yoga to live music or ice cream, Gulfport’s downtown strip has it all. Salty Sal’s recently joined the band of businesses that line Beach Boulevard. After opening their doors a little over a month ago, owner Shelly Gorka says that she has “fallen in love” with the city.

Gorka and her significant other, Sal Diblasi, met 20 years ago. Diblasi was a drummer in a band and Gorka worked in an administrative position, with a typical 40-hour work week. Gorka says that she quickly became a night owl with Diblasi’s late hours.

Although she was used to getting home and winding down around 6 p.m., Gorka didn’t mind the 4 a.m. clock out that Diblasi’s lifestyle offered.

Eventually, the duo decided to bite the bullet and open a restaurant. The Pink Flamingo Cafe opened on Davis Island 17 years ago. The staff started out small, but with the booming success of the restaurant, Gorka remembers moving up to 9 employees rather quickly.

They had a good run on Davis Island, but Gorka and Diblasi decided in March of 2012 that they needed a change. With no real warning, the doors of the Pink Flamingo closed and the twosome chose Gulfport to host their restaurant success.

With the change of location came some other alterations. For one, the name is different. Salty Sal’s Pizza was sold at the Pink Flamingo, so Gorka and Diblasi took the “pizza” away and named their new establishment.

“We decided to just go for it and start fresh,” said Gorka.

Another transition was the menu adjustments. Gorka and Diblasi had grown tired of the early morning hours that were called for to run a breakfast joint. Salty Sal’s sticks to serving lunch and dinner. The menu at Davis Island was pages long, but Salty Sal’s menu is just one page, front and back. However, the variety is unmatched.

Salty Sal’s offers everything from soups and salads to homemade pizza and pasta. Gorka emphasized the fact that Salty Sal’ cannot be limited to one genre of cuisine. After all, Sloppy Joe’s and Gulfport Club sandwiches are also up for grabs.

According to Gorka, most items on the menu are made in house, including the bread. Signature items include pizza, made with from-scratch dough and sauce and the Captain’s Salad, topped with homemade croutons.

Even though the popularity of Salty Sal’s is undeniable, Gorka says that there are no plans to expand. “We like to keep it simple,” said Gorka.

Salty Sal’s is open for business, six days a week: Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri 5 - 11 p.m.; Tues 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sat 3 - 11 p.m. at 2930 Beach Blvd S. Gorka says that the hours may change, depending on the time of the year. Call 727-323-1930 for more information about Salty Sal’s.

Bob Newcomb August 10, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Welcome Salty Sal's to our fine family of restaurants. I'm hearing lots of comments from friends and associates that indicate that the ambiance, food and hospitality are excellent. As a bread lover, I Was thrilled to hear that good home made bread is finally available in town.
Marsha Warner August 10, 2012 at 02:29 PM
This restaurant is wonderful! I will be dining there tonight.
Trace Taylor August 10, 2012 at 03:02 PM
I heard they painted over portraits of dogs that people knew and loved, that people paid a hundred and fifty dollars for and that they did it knowingly. Is this true?
Inrchld August 10, 2012 at 11:26 PM
We really enjoyed watching these folks work very hard at redoing this lovely little building. Lots of sweat equity produced great results. We finally had the pleasure of dining. The great food and hospitality stands for all that makes Gulfport the place it is. Welcome, indeed.
Inrchld August 10, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I can't answer but I'd say if my pet was memorialized on a building I would expect it could be changed when new management came along and created a new theme. Maybe we can start something new and photograph the wonderful paintings of pets on buildings and hang them somewhere like the library or the new art center near the dog park. Salty Sal's folks struck me as really nice people. I can't imagine them doing anything maliciously and I wish our good Gulfport peace to all parties.
Karen miller August 11, 2012 at 12:30 AM
LOVE this retsaurant. Great food and service.
mtober August 13, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I had dinner there last week and it was great!! As to the pics of the dogs, there was one of a dog that a friend of mine had and I know she DID NOT pay $150. The dogs are now painted on the side of Neptunes. I suspect that just as Neptunes painted over Keith Stillwagon's mural the dogs may get painted over again if someone else were to take over Neptunes. Thanks for your reasoned comments Inrchid and for your good suggestion about the portraits. Last you are right, Sal and Shelley are very nice people.
Shelly Gorka August 14, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Unfortunately, the previous tenants painted over the dog portraits! Sal & I are huge animal lovers and would have never painted over them! If there is a way to get them repainted on the building, we would be all for it.
Trace Taylor August 17, 2012 at 03:59 AM
No! They did not do such a thing. They are wonderfully warm and welcoming. It was the business owner prior to them that did the dastardly deed. I stopped in and these guys are just sweet-as-they-can-be people. I enjoyed a delicious blonde brownie and the most amazing soup. If some of you haven't stopped by yet, you really should. You'll thank yourselves for it. Shelly had an apron full of doggie treats for canine guests, so bring your dogs and your appetites. Let's make sure Salty Sal's stays with us a long, long time!
Trace Taylor August 17, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Shelly said that if the artist who originally painted the portraits wanted to come back and repaint them, they'd absolutely love to have "...lots of dog portraits all over the building!"
Trace Taylor August 17, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Absolutely love what they've done to the outside patio!
michael wells September 28, 2012 at 04:30 AM
hi Sal and Shelly . just wanted to say hi .please call me sometime.442 6463.this is mike wells.

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