Jim Shirley, executive chef of Great Southern Cafe in Seaside, is expanding his reach with the upcoming opening of The Bay restaurant.

The Bay is appropriately named due to its location on the Chocowhatchee Bay and at the foot of the 331 Bridge. The building operated several years ago as a restaurant and popular local hangout locally referred to as The Green Bar. Its popularity was due largely to the open inside/outside service and accessibility by car, boat, or paddle board.

Joining Shirley at The Bay is a well-known and popular face Mario McNally formerly with Restaurant Fire. McNally is coming on as general manager.

"It will have some Southern and Asian influences," said McNally.

Shirley concurs.

"We plan to feature fresh local seafood," he said. "It will be more international than Great Southern, offering sushi with our own spin, more Asian flavors, and fresh local produce."

Shirley said the price point will span between $9 and $40.

He expects to open next week.

McNally said he expects Shirley to be on site a good deal of the time as Great Southern pretty much runs on its own.

Over the last month, the building has been undergoing redecorating and a facelift.

"We are making it family/casual dining," said McNally. "It will be a changing menu weekly with the sushi/Creole bar a staple and we will offer cheese plates. It will be a different take on sushi."

The outside dining will again be offered.

At opening, McNally said they will start with dinners only except on weekends.

The Bay will feature live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoons, and diners will again be able to arrive by boat, or paddle board.

The Bay will be open year around.