La Dolce Vita reopens at Eastern Shore Centre representing an authentic Italian experience

BarrettNEWcropLa Dolce Vita is now back in business in their same location at Eastern Shore Centre. Now under new ownership and management they are pleased to continue to offer guests an authentic taste of Italy.
Barrett Thompson, a Mobile native, joined the operation not long after the restaurant initially opened, as a server, and has since moved into management. Chef Alesandro hails from Marche, Italy and presents an array of classic dishes that transport your tastebuds in a celebration of his Italian heritage through food, wine and culture.
Homemade pasta is featured in classic dishes such as spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, gnocchi, ravioli, lasagna and risotto. You may also order a piccata, marsala, cacciatore or parmigiana with your choice of chicken or veal. There are a variety of antipasto/appetizer and salads available.
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. The chef’s creativity is on display daily with featured specials that utilize seafood and other seasonal ingredients. La Dolce Vita is also kid friendly with a special menu for patrons under the age of 10.
Top off your meal with one of their homemade desserts and coffee. They offer tiramisu, panna cotta, a Nutella calzone and cannoli.
La Dolce Vita’s wine list is quite expansive and their servers are extensively educated on the on the varietals and how they most complement the menu. A full bar is available with a selection of mixed drinks that utilize the espresso machine in addition to providing cappuccino and coffee related beverages.
La Dolce Vita is open daily for lunch and dinner. Catering and dessert platters are available. Also, a series of wine tastings in addition to a Fall wine dinner is in the works – stay connected with The Eat Beat for more details.

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

Judge Roy Bean Reunion and Memorial Benefit to be held Saturday, June 9th

Jack & phillip-1Sometimes I don’t think we stop to consider how fortunate we are to live in this Baldwin County paradise we call home…never more than a stone’s throw from open water or an abundant corn field… where, if it weren’t so convenient to just go down the street to your favorite restaurant – you could literally live off the land. From the moss-draped oaks to the freakish jubilees, stunning sunsets and the memories of things that you really “had to be there” to fully understand, it’s all part of what makes us who we are.

Judge Roy Bean’s is one of those memories. Cobbled together from Corte hay barns, chicken coops and happenstance in Nov. of ’77 – it was born of the imaginings of Jack West from what was the recently closed Embassy Lounge. Those of us who were fortunate enough to spend time there were the lucky recipients of his vision. With the help of Dan Sweet, Jack transformed a non-descript block building into an old West
saloon complete with saddles for barstools and wagon wheels for tables. Between he and his friend and manager of the bar, Phillip Calametti, Judge Roy Bean’s became a place of timeless camaraderie and great music.

Nationally renowned artists like POCO, America, Jerry Jeff Walker, John Prine, Alabama, Stephen Stills, Keth Sykes, Karla Bonoff and Delbert McClinton took the stage. Wet Willie kept us smilin’ and George Thorogood was bad to the bone. Richie Havens of Woodstock fame, Emmy Lou Harris, Scott Boyer, Spencer Bohren, Tommy Talton, J.D. Souther, Mac MacAnally and Leon Russell were there as well. And of course, Jimmy Buffett would show up from time to time for an impromptu concert. Whenever Jimmy would start playing, Jack would immediately lock the doors – you could only hope to be on the right side of them when that happened.

The bar burned down in 2005 but Jack and Phillip had long moved on to other ventures but the memories remained. In May of 2016, Jack was diagnosed with AML Leukemia. Soon after, Phillip was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. They both passed away last year and we are remembering them for their rich contributions to our lives.

Pilots for Christ flew Jack to and from MD Anderson whenever he needed them to. They most assuredly helped to keep him here with us for as long as was humanly possible through their generous ability to get him to treatments in a timely fashion. The doctors left no stone unturned in their efforts to cure him. He contacted me several months before he passed to help organizing an estate sale to raise money for Pilots for Christ in return of the favor. And here we are. Harry Johnson, the “original” Bean bartender, and others have put countless hours into the organization of this event and we’d like to thank the City of Daphne for their support.

Backup_of_jrb-ticketPlease join us June 9th at Daphne City Hall for the Judge Roy Bean Reunion to benefit Pilots for Christ and Anchor Cross Foundation. Locust Fork, who played some great gigs at the Bean over the years will be here from Birmingham as well as The Red Clay Strays. Robert Sully who played the Bean over 600 times will be here and will be joined by Butler Sheldon, long time manager of the Bean. Buzz Carpenter is back in town and Ryan Balthrop and Molly Thomas who played the Bean as Slow Moses will be performing as well.

There will be beer and wine and a cash bar. Food will be offered by Jeremiah Matthews of Southwood Kitchen, Romie Perez and The Bacon My Day food truck, Ted Perkins will be serving up the original Bean Burger and the Dew Drop Inn will be represented to raise money for Pulmonary Fibrosis research to remember Phillip Calametti. Don’t forget the extra pickles.

There will be a silent auction featuring original JRB memorabilia as well as some great local artists works like Bruce Larsen and Jean McKee and local businesses like Bay Candle Company, Little Point Clear and Steelwood who have chipped in. More is coming in all the time. JRB T-shirts and huggers will be for sale also.

Tickets are limited and are $50 and are available online or in Daphne at Bryant Bank, The Mellow Mushroom, Southern Cancer Center & Manci’s. In Mobile at Smith, Dukes & Buckalew. Price includes (4) beverage coupons. Go to Facebook JRB REUNION or JRBREUNION.COM for more info – there are more surprises in store.

Please join us to remember two great guys for two great causes!
Mark Calametti

Something Sweet is always a treat!

IMG-7212Something Sweet Bake Shop in Daphne has a new owner. Fairhope native, Renee Maradik has had an variety of different jobs from teaching to banking to administration. With all of her experience, in addition to an MBA she decided it was time for her to make a go of it on her own. She happened upon a local business opportunity online that intrigued her. After the initial inquiry, and within weeks, the transfer was complete and she held the keys to the quaint cupcake shop on Main Street. She added some fixtures to the existing setup and began baking, adding to the variety of offerings of each line of product.
In addition to cupcakes in a multitude of flavors that include wedding cake, peanut butter, smores, cream cheese pound cake, coconut, red velvet, carrot cake and other traditional flavors. Renee offers brownie and cookie bars in over fifteen flavors similar to the cupcake flavors with the addition of ooey gooey butter bars, white chocolate toffee, mint brownie, pecan pie, caramel and Mississippi mud. Renee’s custom cakes are available in a six inch, three layer or a nine inch, three layer and can be made in any of the flavors that the cupcakes come in. She also offers four inch smash cakes that can be personalized for any event. Her Italian creme cake and Hershey chocolate cake are even offered by the slice. Banana nut bread, pound cake and a blueberry crumble are also sold at the shop. Everything is made in house and the icing is whipped with real butter.
Renee has an assortment of cake and cupcake stands that can be rented and party supplies that enhance her delicious goodies. With summer upon us, ice cream is on hand. You can choose from a scoop of your favorite flavor or enjoy a push up or other frozen treat. Be sure to stop by Monday through Friday between 10am and 5pm. Welcome Renee to the neighborhood and enjoy Something Sweet!
Something Sweet Bake Shop • 1712 Main Street, Daphne • (251) 621-2253
Facebook “Something Sweet Bake Shop Daphne”

What’s a Yinzer, you ask?

YinzerMarkPittsburgh native Mark Bentz began his career in the food service industry at a famous burger restaurant by the name of Tessaro’s Hardwood Grill in Pittsburgh. Like many, he started out washing dishes and then worked his way up to a kitchen position. He was a loyal employee of Tessaro’s for 14 years before he transitioned into cooking in a private country club north of Pittsburgh. He learned a lot from the chefs that he was surrounded by and benefitted from their knowledge. In 2004, Mark landed on the the Eastern Shore and settled in Daphne. He went to work part-time for Kris Konlon at Cousin Vinny’s. He fit right in and gained a lot of experience from working at the pizzeria. Mark, being a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan and missing the comradery of like individuals, decided to open a place of his own and pay homage to his home city and favorite team. His first restaurant, Bentz’s Pizza Pub opened in 2006. The establishment was nestled right beside Daphne’s largest subdivision and was decorated with all things  Pittsburgh.  Mark was pleasantly surprised and delighted to find that he just so happened to be among a great number of fellow Steeler fans in the area. In 2014, Bentz was involved in opening a second restaurant in Spanish Fort. And now, just this past weekend, Mark has just embarked upon his third and largest operation in the area. He named his new venture YINZERS BREW & GRILL. The term “yinzer” is used to describe a native or inhabitant of the city of Pittsburgh. Bentz and his managing partner, Kim Paige, are most thankful for the host of friends and family that have been supportive of their efforts. They invite you to come out and enjoy the great view overlooking Mobile Bay, entertainment and opening celebration of Daphne’s newest eatery.
Yinzers specializes in Pittsburgh pies (pizza) and sandwiches and brew! There are sixteen taps that will feature a variety of domestic and craft beers – some of which will rotate based on seasonality. The current menu features appetizers that include soft pretzels, wings, pub chips and various cheesy breads and cheesy fries in addition to fried pickle spears, onion rings, and fried mozzarella. Sandwich options include Philly Steak, Italian, Italian Steak and Muffaletta. The side items are coleslaw, french fries, pub chips, onion rings, fried okra, mac & cheese or pasta salad. Their Yinzer-style specialty salads are uniquely enhanced with fries or fried okra unless you specify your greens without such. The pizza pies are offered in cheese or a variety of combinations that are available in a 12 inch or 16 inch size. The current menu is an abbreviated one. There will soon be a lineup of handmade burgers added to the food lineup. Yinzers is open daily.
Yinzers Brew & Grill, 28850 Highway 98, Suite 200, Daphne • (251) 621-6990
Facebook “Yinzers Brew and Grill” •

Photography courtesy of Dawn Gorman (217) 737-7565

A family franchise that truly treats you like family

LennysGuysLenny’s Subs arrived in Daphne in 2007. Andy and Jennifer McGee were familiar with Lennys being that both worked for the company as college students. Since they were knowledgeable with inner workings of the operation and wanted to have a business of their own, they decided to invest in a Lenny’s franchise.  Jennifer was from Mobile and she and Andy decided to open and grow their business in Daphne around the same time that Lennys was introduced to the Mobile market.
Andy’s parents lived in Memphis but they knew they would be relocating before grandchildren entered the scene. In 2012, two months before the couple’s triplets arrived Andy’s parents Randy and Cathy settled on the Eastern Shore. Randy McGee knew that his number one role was that of a grandparent but to aid in the adjustment to his new surroundings he asked Andy if there was a place from him at Lenny’s. Randy started out assisting with the occasional catering. Since then the demand for catering has increased and Lennys of Daphne now has their own catering vehicle and a part-time employee that executes the daily catering. Randy has taken on more of a public relations position and enjoys interacting with customers on a regular basis. He calls it relationship management and has definitely raised the bar when it comes to hospitality and guest services. Randy helps the staff start their day before the doors open every morning and then returns around lunch time to welcome patrons and to ensure they enjoy their Lenny’s experience.
There are over twenty different sandwiches that you can choose from in addition to the salads and wraps. Their deli sandwiches are prepared the “Lenny’s Way” and include onion, lettuce, tomato, oil, salt, pepper, oregano, pickles, red wine vinegar and mayo – unless otherwise specified. They are served on bread that is baked fresh daily and the meats are sliced at the time you order. Their philly cheesesteaks and grilled subs are served hot and all of their sandwiches are available in a 5 inch, 7 1/2 inch, 10 inch or 15 inch sizes. If you are planning a special event, they offer party platters, large salad bowls that serve eight to ten people and even a hot catering option that features their philly cheesesteak, chicken philly or meatball sub. You can even place your order online and also take advantage of their VIP Rewards Membership to earn free food and receive special offers.
The McGee’s have recently opened their second location on Highway 90 and are now serving both the Daphne and Malbis areas with a fresh, quality product that prepared just the way you like it. Lennys is open Monday through Saturday from 11am until 9pm.
Lennys Grill & Subs • 2020 Hwy 98, Daphne (251) 621-1635 and 9475 US Hwy 90, Daphne (251) 333-1108 • Facebook “Lennys Subs”

Tin Tin’s Rock-N-Roll Food Truck presents a variety of tastes

Layout 1Leslie and Justin Hanks have both grown up in the food service business. Justin is originally from Fairhope and started working in restaurants before he could even drive. Leslie is from the Pensacola area and got her experience at a young age as well. Her family owns a food/concessions operation and they travel around the Gulf Coast area setting up at festivals and events. They both continued their involvement in food service and in restaurants throughout their teenage years and into adulthood gaining incredible experience from family and local restaurant owners who are passionate about the food they serve. Around this time last year, the couple obtained their food truck license and started researching opportunities that would allow the public to try a taste of Tin Tin’s Rock-N-Roll Food Truck.
This husband and wife team strives to provide gourmet food as well as great customer service in a fun atmosphere. They turn up the tunes and crank out a variety of items that includes an American, Mediterranean and Filipino flavors.  Leslie showcases her heritage as part of the variety of food options that  are showcased on the menu. Her lumpia (the Filipino version of egg rolls) and pancit (traditional Filipino noodle dish) have developed quite a following with customers everywhere they present. You can even go taco with their fish or shrimp version that takes on a fresh Asian flair. Try one of their
tasty gyro (lamb or chicken) or shish kabob plates or just go with what you know and order a po boy, burger or some fried green tomatoes or zucchini.
Leslie and Justin’s Rock-N-Roll Food Truck makes a regular guest appearance at Fairhope Brewing Company on Wednesday evenings for trivia night and most Thursdays for lunch at The Burrow Coffee & Co. just south of Thomas Hospital. For more details or to find out where the Rock-N-Roll Food Truck may be located be sure to follow their Facebook Page – Tin Tin’s Rock-N-Roll Food Truck. They can also make arrangements to cater or be at your special event. Just give them a call at (251) 228-6305 or email them at

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 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 • Facebook “Rae’s Kitchen”