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.
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