Rae’s Kitchen now offers a variety of tasty and convenient “Naturally Strong” nutrition

JessNoniePersistence is just part of Nonie Taul’s personality. When this mom’s oldest child, Annie started complaining of frequent stomach aches, Nonie did what any mom would do. After several doctors visits and a noticeable weight loss, Taul’s daughter was referred to a gastroenterologist. Annie was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten can lead to the damage in the small intestine. The dietary changes that took place in the Taul household were also adopted by Nonie. After the omission of all things gluten, Nonie began to notice how much better she felt.

Nonie has always led an active lifestyle, from youth sports  through her college years as a dance major. She is a certified yoga, pilates and group fitness instructor. As Nonie’s students became inquisitive about her personal diet and nutrition she started a Facebook Page as a support site. As her followers grew in number, so did her passion to help others with their quest for better health through diet and exercise. In 2015 she started her business, Naturally Strong Nonie. She teaches classes that are designed to help women look and feel great in addition to providing meal plans and even grocery lists to help with meal preparation. Taul has also taken it a step further by visiting and inquiring with local restaurant owners about menu items that fall in line with the nutrition plan she promotes. Healthy choices are most certainly available when dining out and can be found “Nonie Approved” at Moe’s Southwestern, The Ox Kitchen, Sage, Two Sisters Bakery & Deli and Locals.

When 2018 rolled around, Taul’s persistence again came into play with the gals at Rae’s Kitchen. She had approached Jessica Guthrie and Nancy Dupree about preparing some of her healthy recipes that would be easy to grab and go. After the Christmas Holiday season Guthrie agreed to give it a try. The response has been amazing and the kitchen’s
business has increased such that they had to hire friends to help out a couple of days a week just to keep up with the demand for the “Naturally Strong/Nonie Approved” items that occupy the cooler shelves. “We have moms that come and stock up for themselves and also grab a different dinner casserole for the husband and kids” says Guthrie, “It’s a win – win!” Some of the current healthy choices endorsed by Nonie and prepared by Rae’s Kitchen include an extremely popular Egg Roll Bowl, an Edamame Quinoa Salad, Chicken Lettuce Wrap Stuffing, a GLOW (gluten free, low carb, organic) Bowl, a Green Quinoa Bowl, Cauliflower Detox Salad, Vegetable Detox Soup and a Turkey Sausage & Cabbage Soup. The offerings vary and are seasonal but there are typically approximately ten different choices available at all times.

For more information on Nonie Taul and the services she offers visit her website at www.naturallystrongnonie.com or visit her Facebook Page “Naturally Strong Nonie”.  To get a taste of what Taul is advocating (and more) visit Rae’s Kitchen at 460 N. Section Street, Fairhope (251) 210-6135 www.raeskitchenandcatering.com • Facebook “Rae’s Kitchen”




Long time friends reunite sparking culinary creativity in the kitchen at Fairhope’s Camellia Cafe

ChrisRyanWebPicIt’s been over twenty years since this duo worked together near the beginning of both of their culinary journeys. Ryan Glass met Chris Litts during his final stage of training after culinary school. Glass did his externship under Litts at the Martini House in St. Helena, Napa County, California.
Before the upstate New York native arrived at the Martini House, he served as the Executive Sous Chef for the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley.
Litts left the Martini House to partner with three others to open Kitchen Door where he is still a partner. After numerous invitations from Glass to come to South Alabama and the need for a change of pace, Litts finally landed on the Eastern Shore last July.
The long time friends picked up where they left off and are back together again in the kitchen at Camellia Cafe. Chris and Ryan have revamped the menu at Camellia Cafe and now offer three to four nightly specials.
They have an incredible line up of appetizers that include truffle fries, smoked salmon bruschetta, a wagyu beef carpaccio, grilled artichoke and a crispy Georgia quail. Some of the regular entrees feature hickory grilled fish, filet of beef, pan roasted duck a Kobe
beef burger. There are also an assortment of other dishes that together showcase a variety of proteins accompanied by complementary sides in an elegant presentation.
Handcrafted cocktails and martinis in addition to the exclusive wine list, pair perfectly with the menu that the cafe presents. All of their desserts are house made and go hand in hand with a French pressed coffee to finish off an incredible experience.
Camellia Cafe is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner service. Reservations are recommended.
Camellia Cafe • 61 Section Street, Fairhope (251) 928-4321

Local restauranteur re-emerges as the “Place to Meat”

IMG-6676When the staff at Buck’s Diner learned of the impending sale of the building that housed Fairhope’s beloved breakfast/meat and three spot, they spent the final few weeks celebrating the longevity and success of the restaurant with friends, loyal patrons that had become like family, vendors, and all of the regular supporters that made this Fairhope icon a popular dining spot for more than eleven years.
This notification necessitated the rethinking of future employment options for everyone affected.  Formerly the manager of Buck’s Diner, Daneen Buck, knew she wanted to remain in the restaurant business, but in what capacity? After taking a few months off, Daneen began pondering her options.
What frequently came to mind was an old “hole in the wall” eatery from days long ago known as Boo-Boo’s. Wildly popular with the locals, this bar and grill was family owned and operated and featured very simplistic dining options.  “If I remember correctly, the menu consisted of a ribeye steak, a hamburger, West Indies salad, and gumbo” says Buck, “Oh, and Marie Higginbotham’s peanut butter pie!”
After meeting with the owners of the Point Clear Tennis Club, Daneen knew that this would be the perfect venue for her next adventure in the restaurant business.  The building is considerably larger than Boo-Boo’s was, and she knew a heartier menu offering would be necessary. She decided on a classic steakhouse style menu.
The name of the new game in town is CHAR 32 – “The Place to Meat”.  The menu is still evolving but currently consists of smaller plates, or appetizers, such as a classic shrimp cocktail, sautéed crab claws, shrimp remoulade, stuffed mushrooms, South Indies salad (Daneen’s special version of the local classic), roasted pork belly over braised collard greens, and a petite Chateau with horseradish cream sauce. Entree choices include filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, boneless ribeye, and a strip steak.  The menu also includes fresh, wild caught salmon, and the Char burger is to die for!  All entrees are served with a baked potato or fries, and a house salad. Desserts are homemade and include her mother’s famous banana pudding.
CHAR 32 also has a full bar offering beer, libations and fine wines, and “local celebrity” bartenders to enhance your dining experience. In addition to the spectacular dining room, there is a comfortable lounging area with a fireplace adjacent to the main dining room, and also a beautiful patio area for outdoor dining as the weather permits.
Although the restaurant is located inside the Point Clear Tennis Club, CHAR 32 is open to the public, so make plans to experience CHAR 32 – “The Place to Meat”. The hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 5:30pm until 9pm.
Char 32 at Point Clear Tennis Club • 17107 Tennis Club Dr.  Fairhope • 251-517-7700


Daphne’s Southwood Kitchen presents upscale cuisine in an approachable atmosphere

IMG_6615Chef Jeremiah Matthews’ education, culinary travels and experiences have allowed him to cultivate the kind of food experience that he not only shares with his customers but also with his entire staff. The creativity that flows through his kitchen embraces a philosophy of continuing education, ingredient appreciation and a never ending quest of progression.
Early last year, Matthews was presented with the opportunity to build a legacy of his own. It was an offer that he couldn’t pass up and the timing was right. He opened his restaurant, Southwood Kitchen, in August of 2017.
His back of the house team includes his son, Noah Matthews and Sous Chef Tyler Ales, both who are well seasoned and industry trained. General Manager, Steven Hall and Bar Manager, Robbie Dozier engage with customers front of the house with a professional hospitality, well stocked bar and a wine list that is constantly evolving.
Although there are no white tablecloths, that doesn’t mean the food is undeserving. Matthews strives for upscale cuisine in an unpretentious atmosphere. Fresh, local ingredients are used – seasonal vegetables, fresh fish, hand ground beef, hand cut fries, house made salad dressings and even pickles.
The menu descriptions share credit with the farms and purveyors of the ingredients allowing  the diner to recognize quality and appreciate the communities they represent.
The lunch menu is more constant but the dinner menu changes daily based on what Chef Matthews is able to procure.
Snacks/Starters are known to include buttermilk onion straws, hot crab dip, pimento cheese with house made pork rinds, fresh soup, oysters and pork belly. Salads are made of local greens, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, in addition to other seasonal items. Seafood/Fish entrees come from local gulf waters in addition to other fresh catches from
around the world. There are a variety of tenderloins, filets and high end beef cuts that fall into the meat category.
Southwood Kitchen is open for lunch Monday through Saturday from 11am until 3pm with dinner service beginning at 5pm. Reservations have recently become an option for guests. Although they are accepted, they are not mandatory to enjoy a delightful dining experience.
Southwood Kitchen •  1203 US Highway 98, Suite 3D, Daphne • (251) 626-6676
Facebook “Southwood Kitchen” •  www.southwoodkitchen.com

New Owners of Ed’s Seafood Shed will continue the tradition of fun Southern Classics


Ed and Barbara Bridges created a loyal customer base during the seventeen years they owned Ed’s Seafood Shed on the Causeway. With no prior restaurant experience, the rookie restaurateurs did an incredible job serving their family recipes cooked the ‘Old Mobile’way.
This past October the Bridges were able to comfortably pass the torch to a group of new owners. They know that the business is in good hands and have been assured that what they built will always have a an “Ed” in it.
Pete Blohme, Nick Dimario and Robert Kabakoff partnered to refresh and relaunch the restaurant and offer their customers Southern coastal classics. Gumbo, fried oysters, fried gulf shrimp, a variety of fish, scallops, crab claws,  turnip greens, garlic cheese grits and the famous cole slaw with crackers are just some of what Ed’s Shed has offered and will continue to offer. They are dedicated to improve and enhance without changing what Ed’s is all about.
The gorgeous view of Mobile Bay could not be improved upon but some of the building’s features have. The spacious back patios have been redecked and freshly painted, new windows and state of the art heaters have been installed. An outdoor kid’s zone is in the works and lots of great live music is being scheduled.
Neal Hollingshead is the General Manager of Ed’s Seafood Shed and preceeded the purchase of the business. His commitment and dedication to this location and the industry is just one of the reasons that the PP Restaurant Group successful.  The passion that this group of guys displays is more than evident, not only in words but in actions
“Everything that Pete has talked about has happened” says Dimario “and more!”
The company’s brands (Panini Pete’s, Sunset Pointe and now Ed’s Shed) not only serve the public with great food they also share a commitment to develop and mentor their employees. “Food is a great way to make friends.” says Blohme, “Develop them, enhance their skills and launch them onto something that makes them better.”
In conjunction with helping others, the PP Group has created the PR Foundation. Through fundraisers, volunteer efforts and donations the foundation’s purpose is to do very special things for very special people giving back to individuals with special needs, Veterans of the Armed Forces, no kill animal shelters and other community causes.
Ed’s Seafood Shed • 3382 Battleship Parkway, Spanish Fort • (251) 625-1947
Facebook “Ed’s Seafood Shed” •  www.edsshed.com

Spanish Fort’s Fresh Healthy Cafe focuses on wholesome, good food that promotes optimal health

Photography by Travon Gibbs

Everything that Nicole Shipman has encountered in her life has prepared her for this most recent journey that she has embarked upon.

This Georgia girl was born and raised in Atlanta. After graduating from college she taught kindergarten and married Jason Shipman. The newlyweds relocated to Dothan, Alabama where they started their family and lived for eight years. With a longing to be closer to water, the couple began researching potential places to call home. They found the Eastern Shore and after a weekend visit, were sold. “Everything about the area was attractive”, says Nicole, “it’s a little country and a little cutting edge.”
After their second child was born, Nicole began working out. She became a certified Zumba instructor and also a certified personal trainer. These accomplishments are what began preparing her for what was just around the corner.

After a family trip to California, Nicole personally witnessed the abundant amount of quick-casual, healthy dining options available on the west coast, She began investigating business opportunities related to healthy eating. She was in search of a proven business model that was small but yet customizable. On the “up and coming” list she discovered FRESH, a Canadian based company that appealed to her personal requirements concerning nutrition.

She chose to support the local business community by using other local business folks when it came to needed services. She also personalized the interior to reflect the characteristics of our area describing the feel as “Southern Coastal Industrial Chic”. After the 19 month process, Nicole, with the support of her family, were thrilled to share her passion with the public.

Fresh Healthy Cafe opened this October in Spanish Fort. The restaurant sources and serves the freshest, highest-quality ingredients they can procure. All menu items completely customizable and include paninis, wraps, salads, power and protein bowls and even seasonal specials. An extensive line of freshly squeezed juices and pure and super smoothies are also offered. Their menu is quite extensive and includes vegetarian, vegan, dairy and gluten free options. Proteins include chicken breast, turkey breast, un’chicken, tofu and hummus. There are no beef products on the menu nor will you find mayonnaise, ketchup or mustard. They will also do their best to accommodate individuals with food allergies. With the start of the new year you might want to consider “reFRESH” – a fresh juice program designed to reset eating habits, support the body’s natural detoxification and kick start a healthy diet. More details are available in-store. Catering, platters and big salads are available for parties and special events. Make
plans to stop by and experience Fresh and see what every ”body” has been missing!

Fresh Healthy Cafe • 10184 Eastern Shore Blvd.• Spanish Fort • (251) 444-7170
Facebook “Fresh Spanish Fort” • Instagram “FreshHealthyCafe”

Southern Italy meets Lower Alabama at Spanish Fort’s La Dolce Vita Italian Bistro

BarrettThis is a tale of two Guisseppes who initially met years ago in Rome, Italy. Guisseppe Formica and Guisseppe Spadaccini were more recently reunited, strictly by coincidence, while they were both in New York.
In 2015, Spadaccini opened an Italian Restaurant in Downtown Miami that has since become incredibly popular. With an interest in expanding his footprint because of his success in Miami, Guisseppe Spadaccini suggested to his long time pal, Guisseppe Formica, that he spearhead the new location that was chosen and slated to open in Spanish Fort, Alabama. He agreed and around this same time last year, a former restaurant space in Spanish Fort’s Eastern Shore Centre was transformed into La Dolce Vita Italian Bistro.
Barrett Thompson, a Mobile native, joined the family not long after the restaurant opened as a server and has since moved into management.
This authentic offering of classic Italian dishes is a celebration of many regions in Italy. Homemade pasta is featured in classic dishes such as spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, gnocchi, ravioli, lasagna and risotto. There is a variety of antipasto/appetizer and salads that are offered. You may also order a piccata, marsala, cacciatore or parmigiana with your choice of chicken or veal. Their gourmet pizzas are a popular choice and several combinations are highlighted on the menu. You can also choose the “build your own” option and design one to your liking. Daily specials are offered and there is also a
childrens menu. Top off your meal with dessert and coffee. They offer a homemade tiramisu and are equipped with an espresso machine and a staff that knows how to use it! A full bar is available with an expansive wine list that was compiled to compliment each and every menu item. La Dolce Vita is open daily for lunch and dinner. Take a break from Holiday shopping and treat yourself to some authentic Italian while you are out and about. Gift certificates are also a idea for the foodies on your list.


La Dolce Vita Italian Bistro • Eastern Shore Shopping Centre
30500 US Highway 181, Suite 710, Spanish Fort • (251) 929-9333
Facebook “La Dolce Vita – Spanish Fort” •  www.ladolcevitabistro.com