By Nancy Baker Faul
The award winning Salute’ Italian Restaurant has become one of the premier restaurants on the Gulf Coast and it’s not just because of the food. There is a passion among all who work here, and a desire to make your dining experience one you will long remember. 
The staff behind the magic at Salute’ Italian is a well thought out grouping of people who love what they do. Take Mike Sigafoose for example. At the tender age of 15, he went to work at the Long Beach Lookout under the command of Chef Rob Stinson and his business partners. Mike started as a bus boy but was anxious to learn other aspects of the business. He quickly rose in the ranks and is now a manager at 27. He will complete his degree in Marketing at USM’s Gulf Park Campus in the spring of 2012 but has no intentions of leaving Salute’ once the sheep skin is tucked away. He has won international honors for his marketing ability and is an invaluable part of the Rob Stinson team.
Stories like this can be found behind the faces of many of Salute’s employees. In fact, all the restaurants that Stinson and his partners own, promote from within. Maybe that’s why the menu is so unbelievably spot on. Salute’ serves Italian comfort on a plate. Each dish is prepared to order and executed with style. While Stinson was in Italy he gained valuable knowledge and tips on how to prepare Italian dishes true to their original roots. He brought back recipes from all around the country. “The food in Italy is decidedly Northern Italian or Southern Italian. The Shrimp and Scallops Basilica is a Naples tradition and the baby white veal we serve is of the very best quality. Our prices are family friendly but I never skimp on the ingredients in any dish.  We smoke our own salmon and other meats in-house with hickory chips. Fresh, quality food is what we’re all about,” Stinson said.
Bartender, Rachael Edwards and the staff serve exciting specialty drinks and cocktails. The atmosphere is inviting and fun, with lively conversations going on all the time. Enjoy spending time with friends or business associates in this cozy place. The bar area is an upscale hangout for those in the know.
If you are planning a business meeting, a party, a quiet dinner or a family outing, this is the place to be. Private rooms and a private terrace garden are available as well as ample seating for 350 inside and 90 outside. That makes Salute’ the largest non-casino restaurant on the Coast. Most tables have a view of the Mississippi Sound and the beach. It is a breathtaking view at sunset. Mark Davis, of Davis and Crump Law firm, leased the building to Stinson and his partners for the next 50 years. Now that shows the Salute’ is committed and has staying power!
Some of our favorites are the delicately fried ravioli with Salute’s Signature Sauce and the fresh Artichoke and Spinach Dip with fresh pita chips. The mouth-watering Ahi-grade Yellow Tuna is served with just the right amount of a sweet teriyaki sauce and a wasabi aioli that gives it a fresh, spring-like kick. The homemade soups are the perfect accompaniment to any meal, and the Tomato Basil is a very popular choice. When you order a steak, remember to ask for an extra serving of the Spicy Supreme Sauce or the Signature sauce. This yummy concoction has fresh pancetta and mushrooms that enhance the tenderness and juiciness of the steak. Both sauces have shrimp, crawfish and cream. YUM! Top off your meal with a Chocolate Bomb or Tiramisu and a cappuccino from the bar. All the desserts are made in house.
Reservations are recommended. You may call Salute’ at 228-864-2500. The website is http://www.saluteitalian.com and the restaurant is located at 1712 15th Street in Gulfport.

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